By Betty Yu

SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — For the first time in since movie theaters were shuttered by the COVID pandemic six months ago, Mildred Otis got a chance Saturday to buy container of popcorn and enjoy a film.

Across Marin County, movie theaters began reopening as local COVID restrictions were eased.

“You’re pretty much sitting in your own little space, so it was myself and then there were two empty seats and then the next people and then no one was in front of me, no one was behind me,” said Mildred Otis. “So I felt okay, I got popcorn and everything.”

Among those opening their doors was Century Theaters at Northgate Mall in San Rafeal.

“It’s good I mean it’s pretty sparsely populated in there right now, but no issues with feeling too cramped in there or anything like that. Everybody’s pretty much obeying the rules,” said Andrew Bowers of Menlo Park.

Like many theaters in California, Century is selling social distanced seating. Masks are required, and workers are cleaning more frequently and disinfecting high-touch areas.

Marin County has graduated from the state’s purple to the less restrictive red tier. So movie theaters can reopen at 25% capacity or allow up to 100 people, whichever is fewer.

San Francisco and Santa Clara counties are still upholding their own tighter restrictions, prohibiting theaters from opening.

Fort Mason is getting creative, debuting the city’s first drive-in theater featuring a giant LED screen this weekend. Nearly 100 cars will pay $49 each to see a movie. Concessions are also available. The month of September sold out immediately, and October dates are also selling quickly.

“We want to take advantage of what we do have, which is a glorious outdoor parking lot, 13 acres, and we’re inviting the city to come and see their favorite film here,” said Director of Fort Mason’s Cultural Affairs Nick Kinsey.

Some theaters in Napa County have also opened their doors. San Francisco and Santa Clara counties still consider movie theaters too risky to permit yet.

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