San Francisco city officials will allow drive-in screenings for the Sundance Film Festival to go ahead at the end of the month, giving Bay Area movie buffs the opportunity to see the films in-person during the pandemic.
A statement sent to KQED from the city’s COVID information team said the decision to permit the festival’s drive-in movie screenings at the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture is in accordance with statewide guidelines.
“Under California’s regional stay-at-home order, drive-in theaters are permitted to operate,” the statement said. “In line with the city’s allowance of industry operation to the level at which the state permits, San Francisco has worked with the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture to carefully examine operating conditions that reduce the risk of drive-in theaters as much as possible. The Fort Mason Center has been a close partner in ensuring that their operations are aligned with the current state of public health conditions in San Francisco and we will continue to work together on these issues.”
A follow-up email from the city said drive-ins are currently the only non-essential businesses not currently open in San Francisco that are allowed to be open under state guidelines. “The state does not currently allow San Francisco to consider opening any other closed uses,” the email said.
Despite the widespread stay-at-home orders across the Bay Area that forced many non-essential businesses to close down again late last year, drive-ins are currently operating in other parts of the Bay Area, such as the West Wind Capitol Drive-In in San Jose and the Alameda Theatre & Cineplex.