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AMC Theatres Plans July 15 Reopening, Won't Require Moviegoers To Wear Masks


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AMC Theatres plans to reopen July 15 after months of being shut down due to coronavirus concerns. In March, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic, leading civilizations around the world to take extraordinary security precautions against the aggressive virus. Leading to closed theme parks, restaurants, and businesses, the coronavirus took a massive toll on movie theaters and caused financial hardship for popular movie theater chains, including AMC.

As of late, U.S. states are gradually lifting lockdown orders, leaving movie theaters to workshop how to open amid the pandemic. Despite a previously vague timeline on when movie theaters would officially unlock their doors, blockbuster films, such as Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Disney’s live-action Mulan, have slated release dates for July. Recently, officials estimated 90% of movie theaters could reopen by next month, leaving theater owners to configure guidelines to meet the standards of health officials. Now, AMC is the newest company to announce specific reopening plans.

Per Variety, AMC Theatres has set a reopening date of July 15 for 450 locations. Reportedly, AMC movie theaters are expected to adhere to proposed guidelines during hours of operation to prevent the spread of coronavirus. These guidelines include limiting theater capacity to 30 percent, blocked off rows of seats to promote physical distancing, and face masks to be worn by employees. However, face masks for patrons will not be required in states where it isn’t mandated. AMC Theatres CEO, Adam Aron, issued this statement to clarify the policy of mask-wearing for patrons:
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 strongly believe 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.

Recently partnering with The Clorox Company, AMC theaters plans to restructure the timeline between screenings to allow employees to sanitize the auditoriums, attempting to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19. Expected to roll out in a series of three phases, the limited capacity protocol will eventually increase to 40 and then 50 percent capacity. AMC Theatres expects to reopen its auditoriums to 100 percent capacity by Thanksgiving.

AMC joins Cinemark Theaters with its policy about face masks. Cinemark will similarly require employees to wear them, but not moviegoers. It remains to be seen if this stance will deter movie fans when both theater chains reopen. AMC will also have to contend with Cineworld's Regal Cinemas opening on July 10, just a few days before AMC.

Despite glimmers of hope that businesses could safely reopen, it's hard to know now what lasting impacts the coronavirus has created. Undoubtedly, moviegoers have missed the delicious smell of popcorn and camaraderie of seeing a film with fellow audience members. However, the coronavirus is still a prevalent concern, and movie theaters reopening at this point could be a precarious move if safety measures aren’t followed. Enforced guidelines will create some difference in the movie theater experience, but will hopefully allow guests to safely enjoy a film at AMC Theatres.


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