The AMC Theatres chain hopes it outlets will be dark no more from next month as it reopens the vast majority of its locations, 450 out of 600, on July 15 with protective medical masks left as a matter of personal choice for patrons.
AMC is reducing seating capacity and offering new cleaning procedures while placing hand-sanitizing stations throughout its theaters and encouraging contact-less and cash-free concessions, all in the name of countering any residual threat from the Chinese coronavirus.
The company closed its outlets back in March just as the viral outbreak began, as Breitbart News reported.
“We didn’t rush to reopen,” AMC CEO and president Adam Aron said in an interview with Variety. “There were some jurisdictions in some states, such as Georgia and Texas, that allowed people to reopen theaters in mid-May. We opted to remain closed, so we could give the country time to get a better handle on coronavirus. We wanted to use this time to figure out how best to open and how to do so safely.”
Aron acknowledged the coronaviorus threat is real however he balanced that with the desire of patrons to enjoy their time in the modern theater setting.
Personal medical precautions, he said, will be left to the patron.
“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” said Aron. “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. When I go to an AMC feature, I will certainly be wearing a mask and leading by example.”
Aron added AMC was advised by the Clorox company and current and former faculty of Harvard University’s School of Public Health while developing the personal health measures.
AMC will also sell masks for a dollar to guests who forgot to bring one.
Several Hollywood blockbusters have already been postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic, including Disney’s live-action Mulan; No Time to Die, the latest James Bond movie; F9, or Fast & Furious 9; A Quiet Place 2; and Peter Rabbit 2.