With the Coronavirus continuing to severely impact our daily lives (cases have gone up in areas where social distancing has been relaxed), theaters across the country continue to be shut down. While chains like Regal and Cinemark have released their respective re-opening strategies, the largest chain in the United States AMC Theatres had remained relatively quiet on the matter, despite being in dire financial straits.
Following its contemporaries’ footsteps, its looks like AMC will be back in business relatively soon. According to Deadline, AMC is set to re-open 450 of their locations on July 15th, aiming to be fully operational on July 31st (the release date of Christoper Nolan’s Tenet). Here’s CEO Adam Aron’s comments on the re-opening:
“We didn’t rush to reopen. There were some jurisdictions in some states, such as Georgia and Texas, that allowed people to reopen theaters in mid-May. We opted to remain closed, so we could give the country time to get a better handle on coronavirus. We wanted to use this time to figure out how best to open and how to do so safely.”
The tidbit of this release that has generated the biggest reaction is the theater’s mask policy, as they originally were not requiring guests to wear one when attending the theater (Aron said that the company did not want to get involved in a “political matter”). This generated a sizable social media backlash, leading to AMC altering their policy to require masks for all visitors.
It is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests. With the full support of our scientific advisors, we are reversing course and are changing our guest mask policy. We now will require that all AMC guests nationwide wear masks as they enter and enjoy movies at our theatres. pic.twitter.com/DxS9pTjwSi
— AMC Theatres (@AMCTheatres) June 19, 2020
While I understand that many are excited to return to theaters, there is still a lot of unknowns as to the safety procedures AMC will put in place. Coronavirus is not going away anytime soon due to the lack of vaccination or cure, so there’s still no undeniable way to prevent it from impacting businesses.
A good addition to these safety measures would be temperature checks for every employee and patron who comes in the building, making sure there’s no one showing obvious signs of illness coming into the theater. It will be interesting to see how AMC Theatres reopening goes.