LOS ANGELES — The nation’s largest movie theater chain changed its position on mask-wearing less than a day after the company became a target on social media for saying it would defer to local governments on the issue.
AMC Theaters CEO Adam Aron said Friday that its theaters will require patrons to wear masks upon reopening, which will begin in mid-July. Customers who don’t wear masks won’t be admitted or allowed to stay.
“We think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests,” Aron said. “It is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks.”
Rival chain Regal followed AMC’s lead. Spokesman Richard Grover said Friday that moviegoers must wear masks in all its theaters as well.
AMC Theaters wasn’t the first to say it would defer to officials on the mask issue. That policy was identical to what Cinemark announced earlier this month. Cinemark did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Most major retailers require masks for customers only where local rules mandate it.
But the AMC plan hit a nerve for many on Thursday and #boycottAMC quickly became a trending topic on Twitter.
The outrage was further flamed by one of Aron’s comments in an interview with the Hollywood trade Variety that implied that taking a hard stance on mask-wearing was a political matter.
“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” Aron said.
“We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary.”