AMC does a lightning fast about-face on mask rule

Yesterday, AMC started detailing its plans to reopen many of its movie theaters next month. The company initially said that it wouldn't require guests in some areas to wear masks, and it didn't take long for the backlash to hit. Now, just a day later, AMC has made an abrupt about-face, announcing that it will indeed require customers to wear masks, even in areas where state and local governments aren't requiring them.

AMC announced its course change in a new statement from CEO and President Adam Aron today. In that statement, Aron notes that the company has been "consulting with top scientists and health experts to create a broad, sweeping, far-reaching health and safety effort to make AMC Theaters safe for our guests and associates" when theaters begin re-opening next month.

Originally, the plan involved requiring that customers wear masks in parts of the US where governments require it, while "strongly encouraging" the use of masks in areas where they aren't required. Speaking to Variety yesterday, Aron said that AMC wouldn't require those guests to wear masks because the company "did not want to be drawn into a political controversy," going on to say it "thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary."

It seems that the political controversy found AMC anyway, as in his statement today, Aron referenced the "intense and immediate outcry" that Variety interview sparked among customers. "At AMC Theatres, we think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests," Aron said. "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."

So, if you're looking to go to an AMC theater when they reopen in July, you'll need to wear a mask. If you don't have one, Aron says you'll be able to buy one at the box office for $1.00. AMC plans to re-open many of theaters with limited capacity on July 15th, with no word on the when rest may open.