NATIONWIDE – AMC Theatres, the largest movie theater chain in the U.S., has changed its decision to not require visitors to wear masks at its theaters.

What You Need To Know

  • AMC Theatres to begin reopening theaters July 15

  • The reopening comes in time for Disney's Mulan, Warner Bros. Tenet

  • Visitors required to wear masks 

  • Regal, Cinemark also plan to have theatres reopen by July 

On Friday, following social media backlash, AMC announced it would now require visitors to wear masks at its theaters when they reopen in July.

"At AMC Theatres, we think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests," CEO and president Adam Aron said in a statement. "Accordingly, and with the full support of our scientific advisors, we are reversing course and are changing our guest mask policy. As we reopen theatres, we now will require that all AMC guests nationwide wear masks as they enter and enjoy movies at our theatres. The speed with which AMC moved to revise our mask policies is a reflection of our commitment to the safety and health of our guests."

Rival movie theater chain Regal joined AMC in changing its stance on face masks. On Friday afternoon, Regal said that visitors would be required to wear masks at its theaters.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a safe environment for our guests and employees,” Regal spokesman Richard Grover said in an email to Spectrum News.  “This is a change to our previous policy on masks based on feedback received from our customers.”

AMC’s initial policy on face masks faced criticism in particular following comments made by its CEO’s comments. In an interview with Variety, Aron said the decision to not require masks was made to avoid “political controversy.”

With the update policy, visitors will be required to wear masks. They can remove them, however to enjoy food and drinks. If visitors don’t have a mask, AMC will have disposable masks available for $1.

AMC said it plans to reopen 450 of its movie theaters across the country on July 15—in time for the release of Disney’s Mulan on July 24 and Warner Bros.’s Tenet on July 31.

The company said upon reopening it will reduce seating capacity in its theaters to 30 percent. It will also implement new safety measures, including installing hand sanitizer stations, encouraging contactless ticket sales and instituting no-cash payment at concession stands.

AMC also plans to disinfect auditoriums between each showtime and clean common areas throughout the day.

Movie theater, with the exception of drive-in theaters, have been closed since mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic.​​

In recent days, many states across the country, including Florida, have seen a surge in the number of coronavirus cases.