South Bay Drive-In Theater Opens to Delight of Longtime Customers

The theater has been in business since 1958 and had to close in April due to the pandemic, but doors opened back up Friday night with social distancing guidelines in place

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There’s only so many Netflix shows we can watch and with movie theaters closed indefinitely due to the pandemic, drive-in movie theaters could be making a comeback. If you ask loyal customers of the South Bay Drive-In Theater, they never went anywhere.

After closing down for more than a month, Friday night, the Imperial Beach theater opened its doors. Kilee Peterson brought her three girls, popcorn and cozy blankets to enjoy a movie. It’s a tradition, as she came here as a young girl, too.

“Growing up this is where my mom always brought me so it’s kind of what I learned to love,” said Peterson.

The drive-in did close for several weeks, like most everything else.

“I’m wondering why they closed down because you can always space yourself out and stay in your own car. You can’t get anybody sick from your own car can you?” asked one movie-goer.

There’s a lot we don’t know during this unprecedented time. Will two high school seniors, Brandon Hernandez and Samantha Arevalo have a graduation ceremony next month?

“It’s sad. I mean it sucks but I feel like it’s not the school’s fault. It’s nobody’s fault. We just have to get through it,” said Hernandez.

Catching a movie from the bed of the truck is lifting their spirits.

“We get to watch two movies for half the price. And just be in our own little space. It’s kind of nice,” said Arevalo.

The drive-in requires customers to practice social distancing and to remain in their vehicles during the movie. There are three screens that play three movies nightly. As of Friday, the swap meet remained closed.

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