CHICO, Calif. - When was the last time you smelled fresh popcorn? For some people who were a part of the first group to return to movie theaters since Butte County improved to the red tier in the state's color-coded system, they couldn't remember, but they were ecstatic the theater is back open.
"I've been looking forward to this theater opening for months," said Kelsey Chambers, who hasn't seen a movie in theaters for over a year.
"I haven't been to the movies since late February," said Alex Moline, who had just finished watching a movie for the first time since.
"I couldn't believe it," said Elaine Baltierra, who was waiting for her daughter to arrive with the movie tickets. "My daughter said mom I have tickets let's go see a movie and I said oh my god I said really? I couldn't believe it "
Dozens of movie-goers came to the reopening of Tinseltown in Chico Friday night.
"It's a weird feeling being back in here. Like I haven't been back here in 7 or 8 months," said Moline.
"We really need something like this," said Chambers with relief. "Because I don't know about everyone else but I'm bored out of my mind. I'm sick of doing puzzles and word searches."
For some more than others, it feels like how things used to be.
"It creates a sense of normalcy again," said Taylor Sheffield, who attended the theaters with her mother. "That we haven't had for a really long time. I mean we used to go to the movies like all the time, and now it's back and it's all really exciting."
Keeping socially distant protocols starts before the movie begins when you buy your ticket.
Click on the movie you want to see.
You pick the spot where you want to sit, and the program will automatically take away the surrounding two seats to account for at least a six-foot distance.
"We are taking care and outlining enhanced and stringent protocols," said Cinemark Theaters Vice President of Investor and Public Relations, Chanda Brashears.
Still, other movie-goers want to make sure they're safe when they watch a movie.
"We are disinfecting the auditorium before every showtime, and we are also sanitizing every hard surface every 30 minutes," said Brashears.
"They are taking extra precautions," said Baltierra, who felt more at ease seeing the workers sanitize. "We're wearing the masks and stuff like that, so yeah I think we're fine."
To ensure for limited capacity and social distancing, every other row in theaters is blocked off.
Oroville theaters are not open at this time, but they have been allowed to open indoors since Tuesday when Butte County transfered to the red tier.