AMC Theatres Plans to Reopen in July But Won’t Require Masks, Cowardly Fearing Rightwing Nuts More Than the Spread of COVID-19

Brent Lang, Variety:

AMC will not mandate that all guests wear masks, although employees will be required to do so. Nor will AMC perform temperature checks on customers, though it will monitor its employees’ temperatures and have them undergo screenings to check for signs of coronavirus. The situation will be different in states and cities that require residents to wear a mask when they’re in public, but Aron said that AMC was wary of wading into a public health issue that has become politicized.

“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.”

The cowardice and stupidity here are just jaw-dropping.

Any business reopening post-quarantine must base their mask policy either on science or politics. A policy based on science would mandate masks for all customers. There’s simply no dispute about that.

A policy based on politics could go either way. You can piss off the “fuck your science, I’m not wearing a mask” nuts, or you can piss off those on the side of epidemiological science. There is no middle ground — one way or the other you’re going to piss off one group. It’s cowardly and stupid, to me, to go with the know-nothings. It’s preposterous for Adam Aron to attempt to couch this decision as trying to avoid politics — politics is the only possible reason for not mandating masks. Whereas a mandatory mask policy can be truthfully explained apolitically: just tell everyone that your policy is based on the recommendations of the CDC. Then it’s out of your hands as the theater chain and in the hands of scientific experts.

But maybe this is good business? Maybe the only people willing to go to movie theaters here in the U.S. — where COVID-19 transmission remains far from under control — are the sort of people who think face masks are unnecessary or useless? I’ll admit that regardless of whether masks are mandatory, there’s no way I’d go to a movie theater next month. But I don’t see how Adam Aron looks his own employees in the eye with this policy.

Update: Sanity and science prevail:

AMC Theatres, the largest cinema chain in the U.S., announced it is reversing course and will require all movie-goers to wear masks as they gear up to reopen next month after coronavirus pandemic closures. […] AMC CEO and president Adam Aron said the revised guidelines on masks were made in response hearing “an intense and immediate outcry from our customers.”

Friday, 19 June 2020