JESUP – While many businesses are struggling with closures and business downturn, Georgia’s oldest drive-in movie theater in Jesup is providing a spark of entertainment while also providing a “socially safe” environment.
The Jesup Drive-In, owned by Ralph and Jamie Hickox, is providing a safe and controlled entertainment option during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic by online only payment options as well as food delivery while patrons enjoy their movie.
“We have gone completely online,” said Ralph Hickox. “Everything from buying tickets to ordering food, we do it without person to person contact. Food is ordered online and then delivered to your car and tickets the same so there is no contact.”
Patrons can bring their own food while paying a $5 food charge per car. Movie tickets are $5 per person.
“We have had drive-in owners from across the country call us about how we are doing this,” Hickox added. “They were trying to understand how we could do this without cash and I’ve tried to help.”
While the entertainment of the movies is a great distraction, the drive-in also follows strict procedures to maintain the “social distancing” standards which are now in place.
“We are very strict,” Hickox added. “We allow only one car in between poles which are separated by 20 feet. We ask people to stay near their car so the safe distance of 6 feet is kept at all times and with the distance between cars it allows for a safe environment.
While the dining room and playground remain closed for now, bathrooms are completely sanitized and patrons are asked to observe the 6 foot rule and wash hands on a regular basis.
The drive-in, which was originally opened in 1948, remains the oldest in Georgia and one of the oldest in the United States.
Currently the drive-in is open 7 days a week with gates opening at 7pm and movies starting at 8 pm. The drive-in features two screens with two movies showing on each screen each night.
“We feel it’s a tremendous value right now and it’s something people enjoy doing while also feeling safe,” Hickox said.
Drive-ins have seen a sudden resurgence with the virus outbreak, but Hickox, who also owns the historic Strand Cinema, has had to shift gears with the Strand.
“We had to close the dining area completely, but we have started a food delivery service so people can get their much needed groceries delivered, again, without contact,” he said. “Because we serve food, we have a complete line of meats and other groceries which people can order online and we in turn deliver. We feel it’s important to make sure people have access to things they need.”
Hickox also said Fort Stewart in Hinesville and the communities in Liberty and Long counties have also taken advantage of the drive-in throughout the years.
“We have a strong presence with the military and our surrounding counties,” Hickox said. “We’re pretty convenient and look forward to providing a night of safe entertainment.”
Information on show times and safety precautions can be found at jesupmovies.com.