Photo: VALERIE MACON / AFP via Getty Images

AMC said Friday that the chain would require face masks for moviegoers when its theaters reopen — a quick reversal after its original policy of optional use garnered intense backlash.

Driving the news: Regal Cinemas announced on Friday that beginning July 10 it will require all patrons to don face coverings as it reopens its theaters.

Why it matters: In an attempt to create one blanket policy that would appease moviegoers around the country, it exposed itself to criticism for not taking safety precautions seriously enough.

  • CEO Adam Aron told Variety in an interview published Thursday that the company wouldn't require masks because it "did not want to be drawn into a political controversy."
  • But the company wrote in a news release Friday that it will require masks, even in states that don't require it, citing "an intense and immediate outcry from our customers."
  • "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," it added.

The big picture: While theater chains, including AMC, have committed to enhanced safety and cleaning precautions, surveys show that consumers don't necessarily feel safe going to the movies quite yet.

Theater chains are under extraordinary financial pressure to reopen around the country, where the coronavirus is spreading at different rates.

  • AMC has been hit particularly hard by the crisis.
  • Earlier this month, it signaled to investors that it may not survive the pandemic, saying in a government filing that "substantial doubt exists about our ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time."

Go deeper: Movie theaters face uncertain future as country reopens

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Axios' Margaret Talev (L) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R). Photo: Axios

Insufficient stockpiles and a lack of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a warning for America on future preparedness, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "Congress had been beefing up for years — the appropriations for preparedness — it certainly was not enough, and we recognize that," Brooks said.

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CDC director Robert Redfield testifies at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Sept. 16. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

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Why it matters: The CDC's modification in August to recommend against testing for asymptomatic people was not written by scientists and posted despite their "serious objections," New York Times first reported. CNN confirmed that the agency's update was published outside the agency's "normal review process."

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Rep. Khanna: COVID-19 could change the perception of public health care

Rep. Khanna and Axios' Margaret Talev

The universal experience of COVID-19 could change how opponents view Medicare for All, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "The pandemic has reminded us of our shared humanity with other American citizens. It's no longer possible to think, 'Oh, we're not part of those who get sick.' Now almost everyone knows, unfortunately, someone who has been hospitalized, someone who had a serious bout with COVID," Khanna said.