AMC Theatres Set to Reopen 450 Locations in July Amid COVID-19, Says Face Masks Are Required (UPDATE)

AMC Theatres has announced plans to re-open in mid-July, and details how they will maintain social distancing and implement cleanliness protocols amid COVID-19.

Outside of AMC Burbank Town Center 8 during the coronavirus pandemic.

Image via Getty/Amy Sussman

Outside of AMC Burbank Town Center 8 during the coronavirus pandemic.

UPDATED 6/29/20 2:50 p.m. ET: In a new report by Deadline, AMC will now shift their reopening date from July 15 to July 30.

“We continue to devote extraordinary resources into our plan to operate our theatres with a hyper commitment to the safety and health of our guests and associates, notably in the United States through our new AMC Safe & Clean initiative. Our theatre general managers across the U.S. started working full time again today and are back in their theatres gearing up to get their buildings fully ready just a few weeks from now for moviegoers. That happy day, when we can welcome guests back into most of our U.S. theatres, will be Thursday, July 30,” said  CEO & President of AMC Theatres Adam Aron.

UPDATED 6/19/20 1:33 p.m. ET: Following backlash over AMC's initial decision that moviegoers didn't necessarily need to wear face masks when theaters reopened, the company will now "require that all AMC guests nationwide wear masks." AMC's statement, per The Hollywood Reporter, can be viewed below.

"At AMC, we have been consulting with top scientists and health experts to create a broad, sweeping, far-reaching health and safety effort to make AMC Theatres safe for our guests and associates when our theatres reopen in July. Among many elements of that comprehensive plan was a requirement for our associates all to wear masks nationwide, as well as a requirement for our guests all to wear masks in the many parts of the country that will require it. 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. That policy on guest mask usage, which is directly comparable with our major competitors and many other highly regarded retailers, was announced yesterday afternoon.

"This announcement prompted an intense and immediate outcry from our customers, and it is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks. At AMC Theatres, we think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests. 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. The speed with which AMC moved to revise our mask policies is a reflection of our commitment to the safety and health of our guests.

"We will 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.
Guests coming to our theatres may bring their own masks of course, but for those who do not have one, masks will be available at our theatre box offices at a nominal $1.00 price. Those who are unwilling to wear a mask will not be admitted or allowed to stay.

"We also want to take this opportunity to express our great appreciation to our many guests who took the time to communicate their views. We will continue to listen and continue to monitor the changing nature of the coronavirus, adapting and adjusting our policies accordingly."

See original story below.

AMC Theatres announced on Thursday that 450 of its locations (out of more than 600) will be re-opening on July 15, nearly four months after the movie theater chain closed nationwide in response to COVID-19 pandemic, Variety reports

As the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus to varying degrees, AMC Theatres wants to assure moviegoers that they will be taking social distancing into account by blocking out every other row, and initially allowing only 30 percent capacity at each showing. AMC Theatres plans on gradually increasing the amount of guests per screening in the coming months with the goal of half capacity by Labor Day, and a full auditorium by Thanksgiving. 

The closed environment of a theater leads to the obvious question surrounding mask usage inside the auditorium. While employees will be required to wear a face covering, undergo a temperature check, and a screening to see if they show symptoms related to coronavirus, none of these requirements will be extended to guests. 

AMC Theatres CEO and president Adam Aron said the chain will abide by a state’s requirement to wear a face covering, but didn’t want to force this safety measure onto its visitors. 

“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. 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.”

AMC Theatres will also sell masks for $1. 

The movie theater chain has partnered with The Clorox Company and sought the help of Harvard University’s School of Public Health to figure out the best approach to making the theater-going experience as safe as possible in this strange new world we find ourselves in. 

AMC Theatres will also implement other procedures, such as extra time between showings to ensure disinfection of the auditorium, imploring guests to use online ticketing and kiosks to limit interactions with their staff, and creating one-way foot traffic to help keep people a safe distance away from one another. 

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