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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.
- A recent study in Health Affairs indicated that some states' mandates for wearing masks in public may have prevented hundreds of thousands of cases.
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."