Cineplex Won't Require Guests to Wear Masks as Theaters Reopen

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The Canadian chain says patrons will be "welcome" to don face coverings, but will not make their use mandatory amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Canada's Cineplex won’t require guests to wear face masks in its theaters when they start reopening later this month.

The Canadian movie theater chain said it will require employees to wear masks and other protective equipment to help ensure a safe environment in its 165 theaters nationwide. "Taking the lead from public health authorities and provincial guidelines, we are not requiring guests to wear masks, but they are welcome to do so if they wish," Cineplex added in a statement sent to The Hollywood Reporter on Friday.

Provincial governments and health authorities north of the border have made recommendations regarding face coverings and other PPE when Canadians leave their houses to avoid infection from the coronavirus pandemic. On June 15, Cineplex said it will open six theaters in Alberta on June 26, and expects to reopen the rest of its domestic circuit in early July, as regulatory guidelines allow.

As part of its reopening plans, Cineplex promised "end-to-end health and safety protocols" and reserved seating for all its nationwide auditoriums to ensure physical distancing between guests.

Stateside, major cinema chains have come under scrutiny for their policies over the use of face masks in their own theaters when they reopen. AMC Theatres said Friday it has reversed course and will require that customers wear face masks when it reopens its theaters next month.