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Here's Why AMC Won't Be Requiring Masks

Theater chain announces reopening plans
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2020 2:01 AM CDT

(Newser) – AMC previously announced that the vast majority of its movie theaters would be open by mid-July, and now the chain is revealing details of how that will look. Of its more than 600 US venues, 450 will open July 15, Variety reports, and nearly all will be open by the end of the month, when Disney's Mulan (July 24) and Christopher Nolan's Tenet (July 31, rescheduled from July 17) are released. The theater is reducing capacity so social distancing can be maintained, carrying out new high-tech cleaning procedures, installing hand sanitizing stations, designating some areas as one-way traffic, and pushing contactless and no-cash concession and ticket sales. Masks, however, will not be mandated unless a particular city or state requires them to be worn; the chain will sell masks for $1. Employees will be required to wear masks and undergo health screenings.

"We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy," AMC CEO and president Adam Aron tells Variety. "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." Rival cinemas Regal and Cinemark also expect to be fully operational around mid-July, and they will similarly not be requiring masks unless the local area has a mask mandate. Both will, however, be encouraging masks. The Wrap reports the mask stance has drawn quite a bit of criticism on social media, and some have said they will boycott. As for the new cleaning procedures, they include electrostatic sprayers, HEPA vacuums, and upgraded MERV 13 ventilation filters to remove airborne virus particles. (Read more AMC stories.)

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