AMC theaters announced plans for reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic — and one aspect immediately raised concerns. The company’s “AMC Safe & Clean” plan outlines enhanced cleaning protocols and details for social distancing, but a certain preventative measure is missing from the list: mask wearing. AMC will not require theater-goers to wear face coverings, even though to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
In an interview with Variety, AMC CEO and president Adam Aron explained why mask wearing is absent from the list. “We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” Aron said. “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,” Aron continued. “When I go to an AMC feature, I will certainly be wearing a mask and leading by example.”
While masks are not mandated, patrons will be able buy them at the theater if they forget to bring one, Variety reports.
But AMC’s leniency about masks and Aron’s comment about avoiding “political controversy” drew swift backlash. The hashtags #BoycottAMC and #AMCisCanceled started trending on Twitter Friday, with many insisting that wearing a mask is not about politics — it is about health.
“As an amc A Lister, I am also high risk so no mask requirement then I will have to cancel my subscription. It is not about politics but more about safety/community,” tweeted AMC customer Michael Davis.
The company replied to Davis’ tweet, writing: “In areas of the country where guests are required to wear masks, AMC will abide by that ordinance and guests will be required to wear masks except while eating and drinking. Guests at other locations are strongly encouraged to wear a mask during their visit to AMC.”
Health officials — including recommend wearing masks in public, along with social distancing, as an effective way to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus., the nation’s leading infectious disease expert —
In some cities, wearing a mask in public is required and stores and businesses have been advised to turn away customers who don’t cover their face. But other communities have left masks optional, and President Trump has avoided wearing them.
“In many states and cities, you have the leadership actually giving the right guideline instruction. But somehow, people for one reason or another, don’t believe it or not fazed by it. And they go ahead and do things that are either against the guidelines that their own leadership is saying,” Fauci said in anwith CBS News Radio’s Steve Portnoy on Friday.
Fauci connected it to a broaderin the country, which he called “very disturbing.”
He said the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to avoid crowds — and if you can’t do that, “wear a mask at all times.”
“So when you see situations, when people are not doing — that they are in crowds and or they’re not wearing masks when they’re outside, of course, that gives us concern about the increased risk of spreading infection,” Fauci said.
He also noted that in many states,at a worrisome pace. “You’re seeing situations that are very problematic,” he said, “… , places like Arizona, places like Texas.”