Friday, AMC Theaters (NYSE: AMC) retracted its decision to not enforce that customers wear masks and will now be making it a requirement to have the covering on within its establishment. The movie theater chain had initially opted to not require masks as a means of evading politics.
“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” Adam Aron, CEO of AMC, told Variety Thursday. “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.”
However, the public was quick to criticize the CEO and company on the matter.
“It’s a public health crisis, not a political opinion,” a twitter user wrote.
The company is requiring all employees to wear masks and check their temperatures before coming to work. Additionally it will be providing masks for USD1 to those customers who forget to bring their own.
“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,” Aron said in a statement Friday. “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.”
Competitors, Cinemark and Regal have chosen not to require masks for entry but are however encouraging that guests do so anyway.
“The word that comes to mind is, irresponsible,” Doug Stone, president of Box Office Analyst, said of AMC’s initial stance. “Personally, I would not go to a theater right now if masks were not required.”