Update – June 19th: AMC has reversed course and will require movie-goers to wear face masks.
Bankruptcy be damned: Like Cinemark and Regal Cinemas earlier this week, AMC Theatres has now announced that they, too, will begin reopening their theaters across America beginning in July. Face mask, anyone?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the world’s largest theater chain will open 450 of its US locations on July 15th followed by the remaining 150 on July 24th, all in anticipation of Disney’s Mulan and Warner Bros.’ Tenet.
“After a painful almost four-month hiatus due to the coronavirus, we are delighted to announce that movies are coming back to the big screen at AMC. Our next 100 years of making smiles happen officially begin at approximately 450 theaters across the United States on July 15,” AMC CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “I cannot emphasize enough how much care and attention to detail we have taken in developing AMC Safe & Clean, our absolute commitment to optimizing the health and safety of our theaters for our guests and associates.”
Like the aforementioned chains, AMC will commit to all the sanitary and social distancing measures in an effort to dissuade any fears of the lingering and still-ensuing pandemic that is currently still spiking in many states. in fact, they even consulted with the Clorox Company and the Harvard University’s School of Public Health.
In terms of capacity, AMC will approach such limitations in four phases: Phase 1 begins July 15th and reduces seating to 30 percent; Phase 2 rises to 40 percent; and Phase 3 will see capacity slide up to 50 percent (most likely around Labor Day). The company, bless their hearts, assumes full capacity will likely go into effect around Thanksgiving; of course, that’s assuming everything goes to plan, which is a tall ask in this country, where health and wellness has been politicized.
Case in point: In an interview with Variety, Aron says theaters won’t require their moviegoers to wear masks. “We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” he contends. “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.”
In their defense, AMC will be selling masks on site, one of the many measures you can read about below. In related news, the country continues to see spikes in a number of states, specifically Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, and Texas.
Every auditorium will be cleaned between each showtime with enhanced hard surface disinfection including doors, handrails, recliner buttons, and tray tables. There will be extra time allocated between showtimes to allow a full, thorough cleaning of each auditorium.
Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer will be found throughout theaters for guest use as well.
The products used for sanitation and disinfection at AMC are EPA approved for use against viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens including COVID-19.
All theatre associates are required to wear masks while in the theater. All theatre associates will take their temperature and undergo a health assessment screening prior to their shift. If any theater associate is found to have a fever or symptoms, or self-reports a fever or symptoms, he or she will not work but will be compensated nonetheless.
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. For guests who would like to purchase a mask upon arrival, they will be available for $1 at all locations.
Contactless Ticketing. AMC strongly recommends that guests use AMC’s world-class online ticketing and mobile app for ticketless entry. Not only does this save time at the box office, but it minimizes the amount of interactions for a guest.
Menu selections have been temporarily reduced at all AMC locations to ensure a more efficient service, minimizing the amount of time it takes to prepare and serve, and reducing wait times.