It is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests. With the full support of our scientific advisors, we are reversing course and are changing our guest mask policy. We now will require that all AMC guests nationwide wear masks as they enter and enjoy movies at our theatres. pic.twitter.com/DxS9pTjwSi
— AMC Theatres (@AMCTheatres) June 19, 2020
We heard last week that AMC theaters, the largest movie chain in the world, would be opening almost all of its locations, with social distancing and blockbusters on more screens, in mid July. Regal theaters, the second largest chain, announced earlier this week that they would open in mid July too. In my coverage of Regal’s opening, I mentioned the details in Regal’s plan which a lot of outlets were focusing on – that theater-goers would not have to wear masks where it’s not legally required and that social distancing would be on an honor basis at places without assigned seats. It turns out that AMC’s plan is just about the same. The CEO, Adam Aron, did an interview with Variety and he comes across quite arrogant and very focused on the bottom line, which is how most CEOs are I guess.
“In my heart of hearts, I think we can manage AMC through this crisis,” said Aron. “There are no guarantees and nobody knows what coronavirus will look like in the winter or how long it will take to get a vaccine, but I can tell you that we have a very able management team here. We’re going to make every effort to make sure that AMC continues to be well positioned as a leader of the movie theater industry.”
“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” said Aron. “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. When I go to an AMC feature, I will certainly be wearing a mask and leading by example.”
I’ll be fair – he’s trying to avoid bankruptcy and the dumpster fire of a President is saying that people who wear masks are making a political statement against him. The CEO of Costco has it right though, they’re requiring masks in all locations, by guests and employees, and have explained that they’re following CDC recommendations. Movie theaters are small closed places where people sit for a couple of hours next to each other, they’re not huge warehouses with plenty of room! Airlines are requiring masks and movie theaters should too. How f’ed up is it that taking basic, science-based precautions against a virus that kills people is “politically controversial?” In two weeks there will be so many cases from 45′s indoor Nazi rally this weekend in Tulsa, and those people will spread it to their communities. I wish none of this had to happen.
Photos are a screenshot from the trailer for Tenet, out July 31, and credit Luis Quintero via Pexels and Krists Luhaers on Unsplash.