In the time of the unknown — which is COVID-19 — businesses are starting to reopen. This new “normal” looks different for everyone and one of the businesses that continues to have questions marks around its reopening is that of movie theaters. Originally, AMC Theatres as not requiring face masks. However, AMC Theatres has now made a switch in their stance by requiring face masks for all attendees.
As recently as Thursday Adam Aron (AMC CEO) revealed plans for reopening theaters. In addition to social distancing and sanitary upgrades, the company is encouraging movie-goers to wear a mask. Aron said that masks would only be required if local authorities made it an order. The other reason? He does not want to make it into a political issue. Enter social media backlash surrounding Aron’s statement and a day later there is a change.
In a move to not unsettle an unsure returning crowd, AMC changes their stance now requiring face masks. The company will have disposable masks and let patrons know they can take remove their masks to eat and drink. Obviously because otherwise it would be difficult to recoup their real money maker. Masks will be $1.00 and if individuals refuse, they will not be admitted.
It looks like this could be a move in damage control. It would have been easier to start this way then loosen requirements. Because they did not, this has put AMC in an awkward situation. Out of their 600 theaters, 450 will open on July 15 and they will want as many customers as possible. The remaining theaters are projected to open by July 24 and they will want to bring in large numbers to make up for any losses due to the quarantine.
Call me old school but I always enjoy the drive-in theater. It brings a different theater experience, but an experience nonetheless! I am surprised theaters have not looked to develop more drive-ins. In unconventional times like this, I think people would be more prone to go to a drive-in. Social distancing is already in place, parents could bring children and not have to worry about sanitary issues and skeptical theater customers would feel more comfortable seeing a film in their own vehicle.
Some may say that the need for drive-ins would fade with COVID. However, no one has any idea when that will be or what the new “normal” will look like which could give the concept lasting power and boost attendance/revenue.
What are your thoughts? Will you be going back to the theater right away? When was the last time you went to a drive-in? Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!
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