AMC Theatres has detailed its plan for reopening theaters next month with a rather lengthy list of health guidelines. The most important detail is that masks will be required at all times, but this was initially not the case. The theater chain drew controversy earlier when it mentioned that masks would only be required for entry, but it seems to have backpedaled after fellow chain Alamo Drafthouse posted its own guidelines requiring masks.
In a statement to Variety, AMC chief Adam Aron stated, “We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy. 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.”
It’s kind of funny how refusing to make a political statement is, in fact, a political statement, but that’s not the point. The main thing is that movie theaters are small, compact rooms where people will be in close proximity to each other. Not requiring masks seems like a surefire way to catch the coronavirus as you’re trying to watch whatever Avengers film Disney happens to re-release during this chaos.
As for how many theaters will be opening next month, AMC is planning on turning the lights back on for 450 locations. The theaters will resume operation on July 15, which is just in time for the release of Mulan and Tenet.