AMC Theaters said it wanted to avoid a political brouhaha when its CEO announced masks would be optional when the chain reopens. That didn't work out. A day after a social media uproar met the news, Adam Aron said Friday that customers will have to wear a mask to be admitted to see a movie, CNN reports. "It is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks," Aron said, adding that "with the full support of our scientific advisors, we are reversing course and are changing our guest mask policy." The original decision, he said, was based on not wanting to be "drawn into a political controversy."
AMC plans to open about 450 of its 600 US theaters on July 15, and the rest by July 24. The chain's safety efforts will include limiting each theater to 30% capacity, using electrostatic sprayers to disinfect seating areas each night, and improving ventilation systems. All employees—including Aron—will be required to wear a mask. Theaters will sell masks for $1. Another chain, Regal Cinemas, said Friday that it also will require customers wear masks, per the Hollywood Reporter, after first saying masks would be optional. Regal also will make disposable masks available to customers. (Read more AMC stories.)