AMC and Regal Theaters Backtrack on Mask Requirements in Reopening Plans

Both AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas have walked back their previous requirements regarding face masks as they begin to implement their planned re-openings. On Thursday, the theater chains announced they would be requiring employees to wear masks, but patrons would only be "encouraged" to do so.

Initially, AMC CEO and president Adam Aron told Variety that the decision was due to the company not wanting to wade into the now-politicized issue of mask-wearing. However, there was significant outcry online, which led to the new policy, which was announced early on Friday. In the statement, AMC admitted that their initial policy "did not go far enough" in regards to the health and safety of its soon-to-be customers. Now, the chain will "require that all AMC guests nationwide" wear masks when on the premises. Regal Cinemas also made a similar announcement in a series of tweets on Friday.

AMC's change-of-course also came as the Alamo Drafthouse announced on Twitter that they will "require that all guests wear masks at the theater (except when eating/drinking)" and will provide masks for those that don't have one. They added in the statement that the decision was made with the safety of staff and patrons and "not political."

As AMC starts to roll out its re-opening plans, the chain was reported to have "substantial doubt" that it would be able to do so following the pandemic. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, AMC expressed serious concerns over everything from the ability to generate revenue, the timeline of re-opening and liquidity.

That same filming revealed that AMC's revenue fell to $941.5 million in its first quarter this year, compared to last year when they took in $1.2 billion. "We are generating effectively no revenue," the filing read, in part. On April 30, the chain stated that it had a cash balance of $718.3 million. All 630 of its theaters were closed back in March, and at the time, it was estimated that they would be able to reopen all locations on June 6.