SCOTLAND's cinemas have officially opened their doors to the public after months of waiting.

Strict new social distancing and hygiene rules were put in place to allow movie-lovers back in to the big screen from July 15.

Our reporter took a trip to one Odeon theatre to see how cinemas are adapting to the new normal as lockdown continues to ease.

Here are all the changes you should know about:

1) Pre-booking is encouraged – and cash is out

Booking your tickets online in advance is the Odeon’s preferred option, allowing you to pick up your tickets from machines in the foyer, minimising face-to-face contact.

This was also strongly encouraged by the First Minister when she revealed plans to reopen cinemas and other indoor leisure. 

The ticket desk is still open for those who didn’t get the memo – but it’s important to remember that as with most things currently it’s strictly card only.

2) Food and drink is still available

For those who’ve spent the last 3 months banking their furlough cash, the concessions are still open.

Be aware that it too is card only and may take a little longer due to social distancing and hygiene regulations.

Stirling News: Social distancing at a Showcase CinemaSocial distancing at a Showcase Cinema

3) Masks are mandatory with one exception

Just like at the shops, the chain has deployed staff members at the entrances to enforce mask-wearing and give directions.

I didn’t notice any spare masks so be sure to bring your own.

From the moment you enter you will be expected to keep your face covered, with one exception – when you’re at your seats within your safety ‘bubble’, you can feel free to remove your mask and shovel grub down your gob unabated.

4) Social distancing is in – and seat reservations are out

The interior of the cinema has been redesigned with the typical arrows, stickers and temporary fences we’ve all gotten accustomed to.

There are many minor changes – for example, staff will no longer take your tickets for inspection – but the most noticeable one is that staff will now chaperone you to your screen from the foyer and assign your seats in order to maintain a safe distance between groups.

For the Odeon, this meant two seats apart within a checkerboard formation. Consequently, you can no longer reserve specific seats in advance, so it’s down to luck whether you end up with good seats or not.

5) It’s arguably better than ever

I was pleasantly surprised to realise that no longer did I run the risk of being seated next to any matter of unpleasant cinema-goers: chatty teens, habitually coughing oldies, or worst of all, those who insist on answering phone calls whilst in the theatre – all three of which I’m sorry to say I’ve experienced before.

And with barely any adverts running, and classic films such as Star Wars on show for cheap, the experience at the moment is arguably far better than it has ever been.

It's cheaper, too. I paid £5.75 to see thriller Black Water: Abyss.