AMC's CEO and president Adam Aron told Variety Thursday that AMC Theatres has chosen not to make masks mandatory when the company reopens 600 locations next month.

Here's his take from the Variety interview:

We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy. 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.

The company said it will begin a multi-phase reopening of its 600 theaters on July 15th, adding that it expects to be nearly fully operational by the July 24 premiere of Disney’s “Mulan.” The chain, which closed its locations earlier this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said it will be implementing a health and sanitation program it calls “AMC Safe & Clean.”

The Safe & Clean program will have multiple safety and health measures, including:

  • Initially capping movie showtimes at 30% seating capacity
  • Cleaning every theater between each showtime
  • Disinfecting seating areas nightly using electrostatic sprayers
  • Temporarily reducing menu selections at its concession stands
  • Upgrading its ventilation systems in its theaters
  • Requiring every AMC employee to wear masks while in the theater

The company said that in any area of the country where masks are mandatory AMC will “abide by that ordinance and guests will be required to wear masks.”

And in areas of the country where masks are not compulsory, AMC says it will “strongly” encourage guests to wear them.