Tiger Drive-In offers safe family fun in midst of pandemic

  • Photo courtesy Tom Major/Tiger Drive-in. An aerial view of the Tiger Drive-In. Owner Tom Major said that the theater has had a successful business since it opened back up a few weeks ago. Due to COVID-19 social distancing precautions, only 70 cars are allowed in the theater at a time, instead of the 220 it has the capacity to hold.
    Photo courtesy Tom Major/Tiger Drive-in. An aerial view of the Tiger Drive-In. Owner Tom Major said that the theater has had a successful business since it opened back up a few weeks ago. Due to COVID-19 social distancing precautions, only 70 cars are allowed in the theater at a time, instead of the 220 it has the capacity to hold.
Body

TIGER— As the economy creeps open following weeks of business closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, families are eager to get out of the house and get back to enjoying fun activities in the community.

The Tiger Drive-In opened at the end of April, and owner Tom Major said that opening night was a success.

“[It was] unbelievable,” Major said about the number of customers who flocked to get a spot at the drive-in. “It was packed. I had to turn people away,” he said.

Due to mandated COVID-19 precautions implemented by Gov. Brian Kemp, Major said that the theater has to adhere to strict safety requirements.

He said that the venue can only have 70 vehicles at a time, although it has the capacity to hold 220 cars under normal circumstances.

Major said that vehicles are spaced far enough apart so families can get out and sit in the open space to watch a movie, while remaining socially distant from others.

There are markings on the ground indicating where vehicles should park, as well as markings at the concession area to ensure people are standing six feet apart.

Major said that one at a time, customers order food at the concession counter and provide their phone number. They are called once their order is ready.

He said that employees must wear a mask and gloves at all times and extra hand sanitizer has been provided at the concession area for patrons. The playground is also closed temporarily due to safety concerns.

Major recounted how the opening of the drive-in almost fell through because the state had not distinguished between an indoor movie theater and a drive-in theater.

In a tweet to Major, Kemp said that they could open as long as they adhered to the safety guidelines.

“It was sort of like, man that’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” Major said about being given permission to reopen.

“I had to figure out in 2 hours how to get the staff over here and get it open,” he said.

Major said that the Tiger-Drive-In is very much a family-friendly and nostalgic venue, and the idea is to spend time outside together and have fun.

It is one of only a handful of drive-in theaters in the state.

He said that people come from all over to watch a movie at the drive-in, not just Rabun County residents.

Major noted that the screen movies are shown on is new.

This weekend, the theater opens at 5:30 p.m. with movies beginning at 8:45 p.m.

Thursday, the movie “Bad Boys for Life” will be shown.

On Friday and Saturday, “Playing with Fire” followed by “Bad Boys for Life” will be showing.

On Sunday, “Playing with Fire” will be shown.

Tickets are per person, not per vehicle, at $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Major said that he had an idea to host concerts at the drive-in since it is an outdoor space and some venues are still closed.

“There’s an opportunity that we can have an opportunity for a live concert at the drive-in,” Major said. 

On Friday, May 22 and Saturday, May 23, there will be a live concert called “Country Fest” featuring “Trick Pony” followed by “Presley and Taylor,” both performers from Nashville.

“Basically, we’ll set up a stage here and it will be live,” Major explained.

Current circumstances are far from ordinary, but Major said the drive-in allows people to “get out and feel normal” and come together in an open space during this time of being apart.