AMC Theatres, the biggest cinema chain in the U.S. that’s owned by AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.
said Friday it will require all guests to wear face masks when it reopens its cinemas across the U.S. on July 15. The Leawood, Kansas-based company said it made the decision after listening to its customers and to scientific advisers, who recommend face masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus illness COVID-19. The announcement comes after AMC Chief Executive Adam Aron told Variety on Thursday that the company would not force customers to wear face masks, as he did not want to become part of what is now a political hot potato. His comments “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,” the executive said on 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.” AMC will continue to monitor the scientific community’s thinking on the efficacy of masks and will look at the varying case numbers around the country as it moves forward. It will make face masks available for a nominal price of $1.00 each. Shares were slightly higher Friday, but are down 22% in the year to date, while the S&P 500
has fallen 4%.