“We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask-wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary.”
AMC theater chain backpedals, will require face masks after all
June 19, 2020
This week, AMC theaters announced plans for reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic — and one aspect immediately raised concerns.
The company’s “AMC Safe & Clean” plan outlines enhanced cleaning protocols and details for social distancing, but a certain preventative measure was missing from the list: mask wearing.
AMC initially said it would not require theater-goers to wear face coverings, even though public health officials say it’s a crucial step to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
But after receiving backlash for that decision, AMC theaters announced on Friday that it is reversing course and will now require all guests to wear a face mask.
In an interview with Variety on Thursday, AMC CEO and president Adam Aron explained why mask wearing was absent from the list of safety measures:
“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy. We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary.
“We think that the vast majority of AMC guests will be wearing masks,” Aron continued. “When I go to an AMC feature, I will certainly be wearing a mask and leading by example.”
Before the company reversed course, the hashtags #BoycottAMC and #AMCisCanceled started trending on Twitter, with many insisting that wearing a mask is not about politics — it is about health.
Tweeted AMC customer Michael Davis:
“As an amc A Lister, I am also high risk so no mask requirement then I will have to cancel my subscription. It is not about politics but more about safety/community.”
The company replied:
“In areas of the country where guests are required to wear masks, AMC will abide by that ordinance and guests will be required to wear masks except while eating and drinking. Guests at other locations are strongly encouraged to wear a mask during their visit to AMC.”
But in a subsequent statement on Friday, AMC said it is listening to guests and science advisors and will now require masks everywhere.
The statement reads:
“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 … ” Read more.