SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Bay Area movie theatres started reopening last month after being shut down since mid-March because of COVID-19 restrictions.
But that hasn’t been the case for many San Francisco theaters.
Even though the city has reached the Orange Tier on the state’s COVID-19 reopening scale and has begun allowing theaters to once again open their doors with a socially distanced 50 percent capacity, many remained closed this weekend much to the chagrin of moviegoers like Elizabeth Contreras.
“We love movies,” she told KPIX 5. “We used to go all the time.”
This week the National Association of Theatre Owners of California and Nevada whose members include the world’s largest chain of theatres — AMC Entertainment — announced its keeping its doors closed in San Francisco because of the city’s ban on concessions.
Meanwhile, organizers of Fort Mason Flix, the city’s first drive-in during the pandemic, say their shows initially sold out in record time, leading them to add more movies this month.
“It’s nice being in your own car, you can bring your own snacks and food, hang out outside and watch the movie,” said San Francisco resident Brennan McGuigan.
While many drive-ins are seeing a surge in ticket sales, AMC has lost more than $560 million in the last quarter.
“The restrictions in place present an insurmountable financial challenge,” said Milton Moritz of the National Organization of Theatre Owners
For now, Gracy and Brennan Mcguigan have perfected their drive-in movie theatre setup and don’t mind the extra space.
“Anytime someone was coughing or sneezing even before the pandemic I was always like ‘oh no’,” said Gracy McGuigan.