Social media, no matter how tired some folks may be of it, is still a powerful tool. The most powerful leader in the world uses it to issue policy updates. And when consumers aren’t happy about something, they use it to sound off.
AMC Theaters announced last week it’ll be reopening most of its theaters in July, just in time to catch Disney’s remake of Mulan. To address cleaning concerns, AMC said it’s enacting new policies like going cashless and reducing auditorium capacities.
But one announcement caught the ire of thousands of rightly cautious customers. The CEO of AMC Theaters said he didn’t want to enforce face coverings for all customers because the decision might seem “political.”
Folks didn’t like that, and took to Twitter by the thousands to voice their frustration. Personal health and safety isn’t political. Masks aren’t political. Better said, they shouldn’t be political.
The loud opposition was enough for AMC Theaters to reconsider its decision and shift directions–and quick:
“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,” the Associated Press reported.
The CEO added: “We think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests. It is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks.”
Now that’s a smart business decision. Another large chain, Regal, apparently thought so, too. It issued similar policies. Masks are essential, especially if you’re going to be sitting inside for a couple hours watching a movie with strangers. Take it off to munch on your popcorn, but when you’re done, put it back on.
Not every theater chain made the same decision. KNWA reported Malco is opening Friday in Fayetteville, Jonesboro and Rogers. And masks?
“Face coverings for customers are currently optional at select locations,” KNWA reported.
Malco is a regional chain, unlike AMC Theaters, so its decision probably won’t attract quite as much ire on social media. But that doesn’t excuse the decision.
States like Texas have found ringing the dinner bell and saying, “We’re open, come shop” isn’t enough to get customers back in pre-pandemic numbers. Folks want to know their safety is being taken seriously.
Theaters are in a precarious position as the great unpause experiment is about to begin. Summer blockbuster season is half over. Can the other half be salvaged? Everyone’s waiting to see.
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