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Movie theater chains AMC, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas remove mask mandate for vaccinated people ahead of summer blockbuster season

 Masks are no longer required at the three main movie theater chains in the United States for people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus ahead of the summer blockbuster season.

AMC Entertainment, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas said on their websites that movie goers who are not fully vaccinated will be asked to continue wearing masks, and that other social-distancing measures and cleaning protocols will remain in place.

'In accordance with CDC guidelines, masks are not required for guests who are fully vaccinated,' AMC said on its website, referring to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

'If you are not fully vaccinated, we ask that you continue to wear a mask throughout the theater unless actively enjoying food or drinks.'

Similar updates to mask policy were made on Regal and Cinemark websites. 

Darren Ford, left, reacts to the new mask guideline while presenting his vaccine card at Liberty Theatre on May 14 in Camas, Washington

Darren Ford, left, reacts to the new mask guideline while presenting his vaccine card at Liberty Theatre on May 14 in Camas, Washington

A.J. Gurerra disinfects rows of seating following a movie showing at the Kiggins Theatre on May 14, 2021 in Vancouver, Washington. Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that the state-wide mask mandate would no longer apply to fully vaccinated adults

A.J. Gurerra disinfects rows of seating following a movie showing at the Kiggins Theatre on May 14, 2021 in Vancouver, Washington. Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that the state-wide mask mandate would no longer apply to fully vaccinated adults

People walk near The Chicago Theatre on May 18 in Chicago's famed Loop after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased its guidelines on the wearing of masks

People walk near The Chicago Theatre on May 18 in Chicago's famed Loop after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased its guidelines on the wearing of masks

People wearing masks stand under the IFC Center Marquee which reads, "We're Back!" with a view of the Empire State Building in the background on March 15 in New York City

People wearing masks stand under the IFC Center Marquee which reads, 'We're Back!' with a view of the Empire State Building in the background on March 15 in New York City

Regal's website reads that 'vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or socially distance, the movie theatre industry will continue to meet or exceed state and local public health guidelines.' 

Regal noted that masks where local laws mandate masks be worn still 'they can be removed only while eating and drinking while seated in an auditorium.'

'Employees monitor auditoriums throughout each performance as a standard practice,' according to the company.

Cinemark's mask policy states that 'face masks are optional for fully vaccinated guests. Masks are strongly encouraged for all other guests, in accordance with CDC guidelines. Masks may be removed when eating and drinking inside the auditorium.' 

All three chains said they would follow state and local mandates on mask wearing, which may be different from the CDC guidelines.


The changes for movie theaters come two weeks after the CDC said that fully vaccinated people need not wear masks.

Movie-going has begun ramping up in the United States after lengthy pandemic-related closures and a lack of new film releases.

Movie studios and theater chains last week launched a 'big screen is back' campaign, previewing a summer filled with blockbusters including the new Fast & Furious movie and the superhero film Black Widow.

Hollywood studios are closely watching box office receipts for two major films being released this weekend: Cruella - a prequel story about the villain in 101 Dalmatians - and the thriller A Quiet Place Part II.

The wait for A Quiet Place Part II has been as long as the pandemic.

Signs advising about masks and social distancing are pictured by concessions at the Landmark Westwood theatre in Los Angeles on May 14, 2021

Signs advising about masks and social distancing are pictured by concessions at the Landmark Westwood theatre in Los Angeles on May 14, 2021

Last March, its release was imminent just as COVID-19 shut down U.S. theaters. A premiere was held in New York on March 8, 2020. Buzz was strong. Opening-weekend box office was expected to exceed $50 million.

But one delay followed another as Paramount Pictures and 'A Quiet Place Part II' awaited the chance to return to the big screen. While many other films were sold off to streaming services, holding out for theaters was essential for John Krasinski. 

His movie, which opened in theaters on Friday, is predicated not just on science-fiction spectacle but an immersive and chilling sound design.

'For me, it was non-negotiable. We designed this movie to be for theaters, specifically,' Krasinski said in a recent interview by Zoom from his home in Brooklyn during a break from shooting the Amazon series Jack Ryan.

'I said I really wanted to wait for theaters and they supported it from the very beginning. Even more so, I give them so much credit for going with me on being this early.' 

As the Memorial Day weekend kickoff to Hollywood´s delayed summer season, it will pose a much-watched stress test for the industry´s theatrical future. It´s a high-pressure position that Krasinski meets with a mixture of pride and anxiety. 

'It´s definitely thrilling and nerve-wracking and all those things at the same time,' he says. 'But that´s what our movie is.' 

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