Drive-in theater comes to Pensacola, Fort Walton, Mobile

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (WMBB) — Amidst the COVID-19 shutdown, people are looking for ways to get out. This Friday, a drive-in theater will be popping up at the Pensacola Fair Grounds, with plans for Mobile, Ala., and Fort Walton, Fla., according to its website.

Movie-goers must pre-order tickets online. When they arrive, they can show the tickets through their car windows and be shown to a parking space, said Michael Silver, founder and CEO of the Pop-Up Movie Tour.

“I’ve been telling my guys, we shouldn’t consider ourselves experts at movies,” Silver said, “we should consider ourselves and be experts at parking management, traffic management, and customer service.”

The pop-up features two inflatable screens and will show between one and four films per night. “We are playing an assortment of animated family films to science fictions films to some favorite cult classics and even some newer films,” Silver said.

With regular movie theaters closed, drive-in theaters across the country are having a come-back. Only one out of seven drive-ins are operating throughout Florida while most are close because of the pandemic, according to their answering machines.

Drive-ins are the exception. Because individual cars are considered private spaces, the pop-up drive-in is technically a group of private gatherings in public and so is complying to CDC social distancing order by having multiple private groups of less than 10 people.

The pop-up is also encouraging social distancing by partnering with local Pensacola Fair Ground business Pap’s Place for concessions and offering online ordering and car-side delivery only.

Silver said he expects to see 300 to 400 cars per night and employ 15 to 20 people throughout the series. He said he has also had great support from the local government as a way to serve the community during the pandemic.

The full list of movies and times can be found on thepopupmovietour.com.

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