VICTORIA -- The Vic Theatre in downtown Victoria is set to be the first movie theatre to reopen in the city amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The theatre will reopen its doors beginning Friday, June 12.

While movie screenings will restart, seating and cleaning protocols will look different at the independent theatre.

Only a maximum of 50 people will be allowed at each screening, and all of the seats have been spread out to ensure that physical distancing can be practised.

Movie-goers will be able to select seats in pairs of twos or groups of threes. Meanwhile, tickets and concession snacks can be purchased online ahead of time, which will then be waiting for customers at their seat for contactless delivery upon arrival.

Kathy Kay, director of the Victoria Film Festival and the Vic Theatre, told CFAX 1070 that the theatre will be following all health directives from the province and Island Health.

“We’re taking lots of precautions,” she said. “[We’re] cleaning regularly between every screening. Chairs will get cleaned and so will the bathrooms.”

With the extra cleaning measures in place, Kay says that there will be longer wait times between each movie screening.

“It’s going to be interesting,” she said. “But we should be able to do two [screenings] a day and a matinee on Saturday.”

Kay said plastic barriers were installed to separate staff from customers at the theatre.

Meanwhile, movie-goers will all enter the theatre from the front entrance and leave from the building’s back entrance to ensure that people do not cross paths with the next round of viewers.

“As long as people come out, we’ll be able to keep going,” said Kay.

“If it turns out that people aren’t ready to return to the movies we might have to shut down again. But if people come out like they did in the past I think we’ll be OK.”

Kay adds that the Victoria Film Festival is looking to open a drive-in theatre in the Vic West area.

The organization says it has found an appropriate location off Esquimalt Road near the Bayview One property, which has given the theatre permission to use the space.

Kay says that the Victoria Film Festival is now just waiting for final approval for the drive-in theatre from the Island Health authority.

The drive-in would follow provincial health guidelines, like a maximum of 50 vehicles and a prohibition on selling snacks.

The Vic Theatre, located on 808 Douglas St. will reopen June 12 with a starting line up of travel-themed movies to kick off its reopening week.