While movie theaters across the country are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new viewing option has hit the big screen in Pleasant Grove.
The Water Gardens impromptu drive-in theater opened on Friday, drawing moviegoers who stayed in their cars and enjoyed watching movies with their families.
“We got a lot of posts on Facebook asking if we could do a drive-in,” said Water Gardens owner Mike Daniels. “Someone has to provide a safe environment for families to have an activity out of the house, but confined from the coronavirus.”
Daniels said that there are multiple reasons the theater management decided to move forward with the project after the many requests.
“This will benefit the community and our employees. They need to work,” he said.
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Temporary screens have been set up and nearby ground has been cleared. One screen was built using the white side of a used billboard banner. The other is a video wall, according to Daniels.
“Our number one priority is safety and to provide a way for you to safely venture out of the house and have something to do,” reads the theater’s website. In order to ensure the safety of the employees and moviegoers, some guidelines have been put into place, according to Daniels:
- Everyone must stay in their vehicles.
- Sitting on chairs and blankets on the ground or in beds of trucks is not allowed.
- This is a zero-trash event. Moviegoers are asked to take their trash with them when they leave.
- Restrooms are available, but a safety process is put into place. One carload can use the bathrooms at a time, while others wait outside, each group 10 feet apart from the others. Theater employees will sanitize the bathrooms after each use.
For the past several days, the Water Gardens has continued to sell concessions, even with the theater being closed. Popcorn, kettle corn, candy, cookies and brownies can be purchased online and picked up curbside outside of the theater, Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Concessions can be ordered during the movie, by going to the website. Then, employees will bring the orders out to the vehicles. “Our people wear smocks, gloves and masks,” Daniels said.
Movies will be shown that have been very popular in prior years. On opening night, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “The Dark Knight” were played. Audio runs through the vehicles’ batteries or any battery-operated radios that can tune to FM frequency.
There are two lots for moviegoers to park. One is on the west side of the theater and one is on the south side. The lots are striped and every stall is numbered. Tickets can be purchased online at https://store.watergardenstheatres.com. Cost to attend is $15 for a single feature and $20 for a double feature, though the theater will occasionally offer discount prices. Movie times are 8 and 8:30 p.m., and 10:30 and 11 p.m.
Movies will be played on Fridays and Saturdays and possibly other nights, depending on demand, according to Daniels. There is also a possibility of adding a matinee daytime show.
For more information about the drive-in movies and curbside concessions, follow Water Gardens Cinema 6 on Facebook and visit https://store.watergardenstheatres.com/pages/drive-in-information.
“We’re just grateful that during this time of extreme health conditions and businesses being closed, we have come up with a way to help,” Daniels said.