In an attempt to avoid “political controversy,” AMC Theaters will not require movie-goers to wear masks when they reopen this summer, reports Business Insider.
“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” AMC Theater CEO Adam Aron told the magazine. “We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask-wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary.”
The company owns more than 600 theaters across America and plans to begin reopening 450 of those locations on July 15. Although AMC will not mandate masks, it will encourage customers to wear them. Mask will be available for $1 at all AMC theaters.
“We think that the vast majority of AMC guests will be wearing masks,” Aron said. “When I go to an AMC feature, I will certainly be wearing a mask and leading by example.”
Despite the fact that indoor areas, specifically those with air conditioners, have been deemed high risk, AMC and its competitors Cinemark and Regal have chosen to let patrons visit at their leisure. The company has also decided not to check temperatures of patrons; however, this is not the same for employees who are required to wear masks and monitor their temperatures.
Notably, this will be different in certain states that require citizens to wear masks while in public.
According to Variety, AMC will reduce the number of seats available by blocking out every other row of seats to help people social distance. It has also implemented new cleaning procedures by choosing to disinfect between each showing, adding hand sanitizer stations, and a cash-free, no contact payment method at concessions.
As time progresses, the company will take steps towards increasing its capacity limits, with the hopes of being fully operating by Thanksgiving.
“In my heart of hearts, I think we can manage AMC through this crisis,” said Aron. “There are no guarantees, and nobody knows what coronavirus will look like in the winter or how long it will take to get a vaccine, but I can tell you that we have a very able management team here. We’re going to make every effort to make sure that AMC continues to be well-positioned as a leader of the movie theater industry.”