Well, that didn’t take long.
AMC Theatres in a major reversal on Friday said it will now require all guests to wear masks at its movie theaters when they reopen next month. This announcement came less than 24 hours after the company said guests wouldn’t have to wear masks at its locations except in areas where they’re required to do so already.
That decision sparked major backlash, especially because of CEO Adam Aron’s comment in an interview with Variety that “we did not want to be drawn into a political controversy” and “we thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary.”
“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,” AMC said in a statement. “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.”
AMC had even been called out by another theater chain before its reversal, with Alamo Drafthouse announcing it would require masks except when customers are eating and drinking, writing, “This is not political.”
AMC moviegoers will presumably still be permitted to remove their masks when eating concessions, as the original AMC plan said that in areas where masks are required, guests will need to wear them “except while eating and drinking.” Now, the question becomes whether Regal Cinemas and Cinemark Theaters, the other biggest theater chains in the U.S. that also announced a similar policy of not universally requiring masks, will follow suit.