Alamo Drafthouse will require its guests to wear masks when the movie theater chain reopens.
Its announcement comes as AMC, Regal and Cinemark have ignited a firestorm of controversy over their decision to stop short of mandating that guests wear masks in all of their locations. Customers will be forced to wear masks in states and jurisdictions where people are required to be masked when in public, and they will be encouraged to wear masks in other parts of the country.
However, AMC CEO Adam Aron drew sharp criticism when he told Variety that the chain had stopped short of making masks a prerequisite to entry because “We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy.” Those comments were widely derided on social media. In its tweet announcing Alamo’s policy, the chain took a swipe at Aron’s statement.
“When we open, the safety of our teammates and guests cannot be compromised,” the company said. “This is not political.”
Employees at AMC, Regal and Cinemark will be required to wear masks. They will also have their temperatures checked. The chains are introducing extra cleanings, encouraging contact-less concessions and implementing other procedures to disinfect and maintain their venues.
Alamo serves food and drinks at its locations and did say that people can remove their masks to eat. The company also said that it will provide masks to guests who arrive without one. Alamo said it will announce its other safety measures and reopening plans in the future.
Movie theaters across the country have been closed since March when coronavirus hit the U.S. Most chains hope to be open by July when blockbusters such as “Tenet” and “Mulan” are set to debut.