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Pop-up drive-in theaters bring movies back in New Jersey, New York

Classic cartoons and movies are shown in the parking lot of Bel Aire Diner in New York City on Thursday, May 21, 2020. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Classic cartoons and movies are shown in the parking lot of Bel Aire Diner in New York City on Thursday, May 21, 2020. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 22 (UPI) -- Businesses in New Jersey and New York are reviving a once-dwindling concept by opening pop-up drive-in movie theaters in their parking lots.

The Kathedral Events Center in Hammonton, N.J., announced it has started showing movies in the social distancing-friendly style of a drive-in theater with its "Karpool Cinema" series.

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The pop-up theater held its first event Thursday night with a showing of Sonic the Hedgehog.

"When guests arrive on site, we have a staff member direct them on where to park. That way, they have the ability to open their tailgate, roll down the windows and enjoy," Maximillian Rodio, executive director of Kathedral Events Center, told WPVI-TV.

Rodio said the parking lot has been repartitioned into 75 parking spots spaced about 10 feet apart to comply with social distancing guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The films are projected onto a 40-foot screen, and the sound is broadcast to the vehicles via FM radio.

Meanwhile, the Bel Aire Diner in New York's Queens borough has erected a 25-foot screen in its parking lot to show classic films and cartoons to an audience of up to 40 vehicles.

The diner partnered with pop-up event company Long Island Movie Nights to show films including Dirty Dancing and Grease, as well as classic cartoons such as Popeye. The diner is offering a special menu for patrons attending the screenings and customers are allowed to use the restrooms, provided they wear masks and gloves.

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