FILE - In this May 13, 2020 file photo, AMC Empire 25 theatre appears on 42nd Street in New York. The nation’s largest movie theater chain changed its position on mask-wearing less than a day after the company became a target on social media for saying it would defer to local governments on the issue.
Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File
AMC Theaters reverses course on masks after backlash
Published 12:31 PDT, Fri June 19, 2020
LOS ANGELES — The nation’s largest movie
AMC Theaters CEO Adam Aron said Friday that its
“We think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests,” Aron said. “It is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks.”
Rival chain Regal followed AMC's lead. Spokesman Richard Grover said Friday that moviegoers must wear masks in all its
AMC Theaters wasn’t the first to say it would defer to officials on the mask issue. That policy was identical to what Cinemark announced earlier this month. Cinemark did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Most major retailers require masks for customers only where local rules mandate it.
But the AMC plan hit a nerve for many on Thursday and #boycottAMC quickly became a trending topic on Twitter.
The outrage was further flamed by one of Aron’s comments in an interview with the Hollywood trade Variety that implied that taking a hard stance on mask-wearing was a political matter.
“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” Aron said. “We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary.”
He also said that he thought the “vast majority of AMC guests will be wearing masks” and that he planned to lead by example and would be wearing a mask himself.
The interview came on the same day that California started requiring people throughout the state to wear masks in most indoor settings and outdoors when distancing isn’t possible.
While public health officials say wearing a mask is important in helping stop the spread of COVID-19, not wearing one has become a political statement for people who say it violates their freedom or exaggerates the threat of the coronavirus. President Donald Trump has pushed back against masks, even as the virus has killed more than 100,000 Americans this year.
Earlier Friday, Alamo Drafthouse, which operates around 40 locations in the U.S. said that it would be requiring that guests wear masks at its
Most indoor U.S.
AMC said it will open 450 of its U.S. locations on July 15, with the goal of having most of its
AP Business Writer Tali Arbel contributed from New York.
— Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
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