WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Sitting down in a movie theater hasn’t been an option during this pandemic as restrictions went into effect.
A Winston-Salem business is getting a little creative to bring people back and let them enjoy the silver screen in a unique and nostalgic way. Marketplace Cinemas expanded its business plan and they’re now operating as a drive-in theater to cope with COVID-19 restrictions. They say their goal is to provide entertainment during these uncertain times.
“We’re excited to be kind of the first drive-in back in Winston,” said Zack Fox, Marketplace Cinema’s manager and projectionist.
Marketplace Cinemas will debut “Smokey and the Bandit” in the parking lot of the theater stretching over into the strip mall’s parking lot. Fox says COVID-19 forced him and the owners to think outside of the box to get revenue flowing once again and give people in this community something to do.
“Instead of adding onto a business no you’re opening a whole new business… changing the parking, changing the preexisting structure, getting all of the approved plans,” Fox said.
Their goal is to practice social distancing with their customers. Concession stands and restrooms will be available indoors. However, there’s still a 22-person capacity limit.
“So all of [the parking spaces] are individually numbered and lettered so you just go online pick the spot you want to be based on the size of your car and when you come to town we will scan you in and everything is contactless,” Fox said.
Marketplace Cinemas painted the side of the businesses that will serve as the screen. And just yards away a projector and FM transmitter are housed inside of a storage unit.
“With movies not coming out right now this is a very good way to show some of the greatest hits that Hollywood’s had, and still have fun,” Fox said.
It’s an option to get their business up and running again and bring people together through film.
“We just want to provide you know safe entertainment for everyone, baseball canceled, you know Fourth of July celebrations are canceled, you know football is canceled, you know everything is just canceled right now so actually having something for people to go do as a family,” Fox said.