When factoring in why last weekend’s box office was the best since before the pandemic, there’s one crucial component that can’t be left out. AMC, Regal, and Cinemark, the three largest movie theater chains in the U.S., are no longer mandating mask-wearing for those who have been fully vaccinated.
“Consistent with the latest CDC guidance and following consultation with public health experts, AMC Theatres guests who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear face coverings at AMC locations, unless it is mandated by state or local ordinances,” AMC said in a statement. “Guests who are not fully vaccinated are asked to continue wearing masks. All other aspects of the AMC Safe & Clean policies and procedures, including seat blocking, remain in place at this time.”
Local and state guidelines still apply, so you may see some theaters still practicing social distancing. At the Fairfax Cinemark I visited on Sunday, there were still signs telling people to wear masks. Not that everyone did, mind you.
And this is the issue. There’s a lot of confusion out there right now, ever since the CDC changed its recommendations for those who have been vaccinated. The problem is that most of the people who refused to get vaccinated are also the ones who wouldn’t wear masks, and they are probably flocking back into theaters now that mandates have been lifted. This is anecdotal, but I have a few friends exactly like that. So how do these theaters plan to police this new policy?
The sure answer is that they won’t. You think some kid making popcorn or taking your tickets is going to ask you to show your vaccine card? Not fucking likely. And so it may be that it’s wise to continue wearing masks in public places for a while, if not longer.
Personally, I’m treating the U.S. like I’m living in Japan. Masks are just a part of life now. If I’m in a crowded place then I’ll be rockin’ a mask. [Variety]