AMC’s Reopening Plan Does Not Require Wearing Masks, And Fuck That Shit

AMC Theatres, the largest movie theater chain in the world, is set to open their doors up to the public on July 15th, and much like Regal did a few days ago they’ve revealed their new safety guidelines. It pretty much tracks with what we’d expect: theaters will be disinfected, more social distancing efforts will be in place, and reduced capacity. But the one aspect that has many, including yours truly, up in arms is that AMC won’t be requiring patrons to wear masks.

Fuck that shit.

“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” said AMC chief executive Adam Aron to Variety.

Well, that just sounds like a bunch of bullshit to me. Goddamn that’s some weak shit right there. The issue of wearing masks has become political by the people who want to turn everything into a culture war. Refusing to wear a mask has become a means of showing support for science-denier-in-chief Donald Trump, or for just “owning the libs”, who mostly take the advice that wearing masks is a way of reducing the spread of COVID-19.

But for AMC to use that as an excuse is to also deny the science and put customers at risk. And for what? Because it’s too much of an infringement on someone’s rights to be told to wear a tiny piece of cloth to, y’know, keep the people around them safe? But that’s the problem in a nutshell, isn’t it? Framing. The masks aren’t to protect us, they’re to protect others. Perhaps the narrative all along should’ve been that masks keep ourselves safe, then the selfish people would keep wearing them.

Aron continued, “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.”

Fuck your example. “Leading by example” would be placing rules in place to wear masks, which since AMC is a business you have every Goddamn right to do if that’s what you want to do. What’re the maskless folks going to say? That you don’t have the right to do it? Corporations are people, my friend.

With COVID-19 cases spiking everywhere, largely because of the maskless folks who don’t think there is a virus to begin with, or still somehow think it’s just like the flu (116,000 dead Americans would say otherwise), what AMC is doing is the height of irresponsibility. I already had severe doubts about going to the movies again, and now I know if called upon to do so it won’t be at an AMC.

Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.