By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — The major theatre chains are now easing mask mandates as many jurisdictions are also cutting back on COVID-19 protocols. The general trend now is moving towards allowing fully vaccinated patrons to enter a theater without wearing face coverings.

However, masks will still be required for all customers if mandated by local authorities — such as in Los Angeles, the country’s largest moviegoing market.

“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,” the circuit said in a statement last Friday.

AMC didn’t say that its locations would require proof of vaccination. “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,” the chain’s statement continued. Cinemark Theatres and Regal Cinemas have adopted the same policy.

Both “A Quiet Place Part II” and “Cruella” did well over the Memorial Day weekend, starting what Hollywood and exhibitors hope is a surge in moviegoing following the collapse of the box office due to the pandemic.

Theaters across North America were closed for more than a year. Presently, 75 percent of cinemas still remain closed, especially the vast majority of those in Canada.