AMC is now requiring moviegoers to wear face masks when the theater chain reopens July 15.
“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 company said in a statement Friday.
While guests are allowed to bring their own face coverings, $1 masks will also be available for purchase.
“Those who are unwilling to wear a mask will not be admitted or allowed to stay,” AMC added.
Previously, in a Thursday interview with Variety, CEO and President Adam Aron said the company will not mandate that customers wear masks in order to avoid “a political controversy.”
(Employees at all AMC locations, however, will be required to wear masks, have their temperatures monitored, and undergo regular screenings for the coronavirus.)
“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,” Aron told the outlet.
Needless to say, an overwhelming amount of social media users were not happy with Aron’s comments.
“Remind me to never set foot in an AMC theatre again,” one Twitter account commented.
“Then I’m out! You should be protecting your customers. Follow the science,” another exclaimed.
In regard to their previous policy, AMC appears to attribute it to state and/or county regulations, as mask-wearing is not mandatory in certain parts of the country.
“In those areas of the country where masks will not be required, we nonetheless planned to strongly encourage mask usage by guests, and fully expected that the vast majority would do so,” the company explained on Friday. “That policy on guest mask usage, which is directly comparable with our major competitors and many other highly regarded retailers, was announced yesterday afternoon.”
Regardless, AMC pledges to “constantly monitor the scientific community’s latest thinking as to the efficacy of mask usage.”
“We also will be looking at the varying health conditions in specific localities around our theatres all across the country. This will help us to determine what our mask policy will be as we go forward, as well as to make any other needed changes to this policy,” they added.