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AMC reverses, will require masks in movie theaters

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AMC Theatres announced Friday that they will require moviegoers to wear masks amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, reversing a previous policy that sparked immediate backlash. 

The movie theater chain announced a policy Thursday that would require employees to wear masks. However, it only mandated that customers wear them in cities or states that require facial coverings.

But AMC said in a statement Friday that all moviegoers will now be required to wear masks as theaters reopen across the country. AMC plans to open 75 percent of its theaters on July 15 and the remaining locations on July 24. 

AMC explained in the Friday statement that “in those areas of the country where masks will not be required, we nonetheless planned to strongly encourage mask usage by guests, and fully expected that the vast majority would do so.” 

But the chain added that “This announcement 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 movie theater giant will have masks available for sale if customers do not bring their own face covering. AMC CEO and President Adam Aron told Variety on Thursday that all employees will also have their temperature taken and “undergo a health assessment screening prior to their shift.” 

Aron told the outlet, before the movie theater chain reversed its policy, that “we did not want to be drawn into a political controversy.”

“We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary,” Aron said. 

The CEO’s comments prompted criticism across social media. Symone D. Sanders, spokeswoman for former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, tweeted that she would cancel her AMC membership over Aron’s comment.

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