Cinemark Will Now Require All Guests To Wear Face Masks

AMC Theatres and Regal both found themselves reversing course on face masks in recent weeks, following outcry about their initial lax reopening policies. Now Cinemark is following in the footsteps of its fellow big movie theater chains. Cinemark will now require all guests to wear face masks throughout its theaters when the exhibitor begins its phased reopening starting July 24.

Cinemark has reversed course on its face mask policy, which initially only encouraged guests to wear masks unless local law mandated it. The chain will now require all guests to wear face masks upon reopening from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shutdown.

"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," reads the updated Cinemark Standard safety policy on the chain's website. In a statement to Deadline, a Cinemark rep elaborated that the exhibitor will offer masks to guests who forget to bring their own;

"The health and safety of our employees, guests and communities is a top priority. As we closely monitor the status of COVID-19, Cinemark has opted to implement a nationwide policy that requires all of our guests to wear face masks while in our theatres. If a guest forgets his or her mask, Cinemark will have a select amount available at all of our theatres."

Cinemark's initial policy for face masks would that it would only enforce guests to wear masks if local government law mandated it, otherwise the chain only encouraged moviegoers to wear masks. This policy, as with AMC and Regal's initial policies only "encouraging" masks, was a cause of concern as fewer masks put customers at risk, as even those who are cautious and wear masks could risk infection if another person does not wear a mask. Studies have shown that widespread use of face masks will dramatically reduce the spread of coronavirus, and if just 80% of Americans wore masks while going out in public, the number of infections would plummet.

Deadline reports that the updated protocol will be "applicable to a majority of Cinemark's moviegoers" when the exhibitor begins its phased reopening on July 24, which the exhibitor recently delayed from its initial July 1 reopening. While five Cinemark multiplexes have remained open in the Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas area, the chain pushed back its reopening following the delay of major releases like Tenet and Mulan and a recent spike in coronavirus cases in the U.S.