Cinemark will be requiring customers to wear face masks when its theaters reopen later this month. This comes after the company initially announced that it would only be requiring employees to wear masks, while merely encouraging visitors to do the same. The decision was met with intense backlash online, which has prompted the theater chain to reverse course.
AMC and Regal, the two largest movie theater chains in the U.S., similarly reversed their policies once moviegoers made their voices heard online. The difference with Cinemark is that they seemingly changed their policy somewhat quietly with updated terms on the company’s webpage detailing its safety procedures for reopening. The section regarding masks reads as follows.
“For the safety of our guests, employees and communities, Cinemark will require that face masks be worn throughout our theatres. Masks may be removed when eating and drinking inside the auditorium.”
Face masks have become a politicized issue in the U.S. This, despite the fact that public health experts widely recommend that people should wear them in the interest of public health. Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi also shared the following message regarding the company’s new policies for reopening.
“The health and safety of our employees, guests and communities is a top priority. We are evolving how we operate to make sure that you feel confident and comfortable when you visit one of our theaters. From the moment you first step back through our doors, until when you leave following the end credits, it will be clear that we’re changing how we work and setting The Cinemark Standard.”
The new health and safety precautions outlined by the chain are being referred to as The Cinemark Standard. This will also include limited auditorium capacity, online ordering for tickets and concessions, thorough sanitation procedures, hand sanitizing stations, improved air quality, temperature checks for employees and more. Cinemark, as well as Regal and AMC, are undertaking these increased measures to help make people feel comfortable about going to the movies again, which is crucial for the industry as a whole. What remains to be seen is how effective, or ineffective, these measures will prove to be.
Cinemark, AMC and Regal have all been looking to reopen in July. However, with Mulan and Tenet both delaying their respective release dates recently, the theater chains have followed. Theaters need big blockbusters to generate business. While all of the major chains will be showing former blockbusters and classics at first to help get things jumpstarted, movies like Mulan and Tenet are necessary for sustainable business. Cinemark is now set to open on July 24.
Meanwhile, AMC plans to resume operations on July 30, with Regal shooting for July 31. At present, movies like Unhinged, The Broken Hearts Gallery, Bill & Ted Face the Music and The New Mutants are also set to open between July and August. To check out the full outline of new policies, you can head on over to Cinemark.com.