The Jacksonville Police Department responded to a small protest Sunday afternoon after a Facebook video emerged of a family allegedly asked to leave because one of the family members was not wearing a mask.
At around 12:55 p.m., officials responded to the AMC Theater on 350 Western Boulevard to remove the protesters.
During the initial investigation, several people came to the theater lobby to protest the incident involving a child reportedly suffering from an illness covered by the American with Disabilities Act.
On Christmas Eve, the family tried to watch a movie in the theater and was stopped by staff asking the young girl to wear a face covering, as per AMC’s company guidelines.
When the family tried to explain the child’s handicap and that the child could not wear a face covering, the theater staff asked the family to leave and called the police.
The protesters were asked to leave on Sunday as the protest on private property was taking place. The officers spoke to the people as no one was arrested or charged during the protest. Everyone left the theater alone.
JPD said during their investigation that AMC has indicated that they meet Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order requirements for face covering. The incident was determined to be a civil matter that needs to be resolved through a civil action.
In the Facebook video, officers can be seen talking to the family, who are wearing all face covers except for the young girl. When the family left after the incident, they said they would file a discrimination report against the theater. The current executive order states that all workers and guests in a movie theater must wear face covers when they are or could be in the facility.
On June 24th, Cooper’s Executive Order for Face Covering stated that people with medical / behavioral health problems, disabilities, or any other reason that they should be exempt from wearing face coverings would be included in the Honor System to determine if they these exceptions are in one of the areas and should not wear a mask.
The Daily News reached out to the AMC Theater in Jacksonville but received no response. AMC Entertainment is currently settling another ADA complaint in California after reports that the theater did not provide appropriate hearing aids for people with disabilities. .
Reporter Trevor Dunnell can be reached by email at [email protected]