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Former Vail exec Aron feeds COVID mask debate with plan to reopen AMC Theatres

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June 19, 2020, 7:56 am

Editor’s note: AMC Theatres reversed its earlier decision and will now require masks when the company reopens its theaters in July.

Former Vail Resorts CEO Adam Aron – a charismatic leader of Vail during the turbulent 1990s – made national headlines on mask wearing Thursday in his current role as president and CEO of AMC Theatres, the world’s largest “exhibitor,” according to Variety.

Adam Aron

“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” Aron told Variety. “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.”

Aron is planning to open 450 or so of his company’s more than 600 locations closed since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March — starting at 30% capacity and then moving up to 50%. There are no AMC Theatres in the Vail area, and movie theaters in Colorado remain shuttered due to the virus.

Variety also reports AMC will not conduct temperature checks to enter — a practice being used by the casino industry — and that major AMC competitors also will not require masks. And Aron addresses the potential for bankruptcy if things don’t improve for theaters.

Aron’s comments on masks brought immediate backlash on social media and prompted coverage on cable TV and in national newspapers.

Aron is best known in Vail as the man at the helm when the company went public on Wall Street and began a process of ski industry consolidation and combined season pass products that in part led to the current pass wars between Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Company.

He is also credited with starting Vail’s New Dawn revitalization and helping the company weather eco-arson attacks meant to protest Vail’s expansion into Blue Sky Basin – the torching of Vail’s Two Elk Lodge in 1998.

Since helming Vail, Aron has held high-profile positions at companies ranging from Norwegian Cruise Line to Hyatt Hotels to United Airlines to his hometown Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA.

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