Well that was fast.
Less than 24 hours after announcing their reopening safety guidelines, AMC Theatres has reversed course on their most controversial one: now, they will require all patrons to wear a face mask.
Previously, AMC only mandated that their employees must wear face masks. For their moviegoers, the was choice optional unless state or local municipalities required them.
That option lit a firestorm on social media, and at a much higher pique of fury and outrage than had been aimed at the Regal or Cinemark chains who announced the same policy; their reopen requirements also leave masks as optional for patrons. (As of this posting, Regal and Cinemark have not changed that policy.)
The reason AMC received more heat is likely two-fold.
One, they’re the nation’s biggest multiplex chain, so they’re the biggest target.
And two, CEO Adam Aron did not choose his words wisely for our polarized political climate. In his initial statement regarding the “optional” mask policy, and why AMC opted against requiring them for patrons, Aron said, “We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy.”
Well, that very statement made it a political controversy on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets.
The public raged and AMC listened.
Today, responding to the uproar over the “optional” mask policy, the company released this statement:
- “This announcement prompted an intense and immediate outcry from our customers, and it is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks. At AMC Theatres, we think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests. Accordingly, and with the full support of our scientific advisors, we are reversing course and are changing our guest mask policy. As we reopen theatres, we now will require that all AMC guests nationwide wear masks as they enter and enjoy movies at our theatres. The speed with which AMC moved to revise our mask policies is a reflection of our commitment to the safety and health of our guests.”
No further clarification was given on h ow enforcement of the new mask policy would be conducted, at least not beyond the part of the statement saying that masks will be required of moviegoers “as they enter and enjoy movies at our theatres.”
It’s likely that allowances will be granted for consuming concessions once people are seated, and then be up to patrons to put their masks back on once having consumed those concessions, but this is just a hunch as AMC did not clarify either way.