June 22, 2020 — AMC Theatres and Regal Theatres will begin reopening locations in July and will require movie-goers to wear masks, the cinema chains announced Friday, according to ABC News.
The companies updated their mask guidelines after facing criticism for not requiring masks in earlier announcements. AMC will reopen on July 15, and Regal will reopen on July 10.
“We think it is absolutely critical that we listen to our guests,” Adam Aron, AMC’s CEO and president, said on Friday. The company had announced reopening plans that didn’t require masks on Thursday.
“It is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks,” he added.
Guests can bring their own masks, but box offices will also have some available for $1. Those who aren’t willing to wear a mask won’t be admitted to the theater.
Regal followed AMC’s lead on Friday and said moviegoers would be required to wear masks as well, according to the Associated Press. Regal announced its initial plans on Tuesday.
The outcry flared online Thursday after Variety published an interview with Aron that linked mask-wearing with politics.
“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.”
Regal has outlined other health and safety procedures, including daily health screenings and temperature checks for employees and wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers. Drink and popcorn refills will be halted, and self-service condiment stands will be closed. In certain states and counties, auditoriums will be limited to 50% of typical capacity.
“Our reservation system will maintain two empty seats between groups (1 seat at recliner locations) to maintain proper social distancing throughout the movie,” according to Regal’s guidelines.