Local theaters give curbside movie experience during COVID-19 closure - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Local theaters give curbside movie experience during COVID-19 closure

General manager Andy Houck delivers bags of popcorn and snacks to a waiting vehicle at Studio City Mesa. The Casper-based movie theater developed a curbside movie snacks program after being forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. – The parking lot is empty at Casper’s newest movie complex, Studio City Mesa. Its massive Cooper screen dark and silent, and the reclining chairs sit unoccupied.

For movie fans, the closing of theaters across the world has become a heartbreaking reality during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is a glimmer of hope, however, in a new service hatched up by Studio City’s owners.

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“We came up with the idea so we can try to employ more hourly workers,” said Andy Houck, general manager of Movie Palace, Inc.

The idea is freshly-popped movie popcorn, safely packaged and delivered curbside in a contactless manor.

Movie Palace operates five theaters in Casper under the WyoMovies brand. They also run theaters in Cheyenne, Laramie, Green River and Rock Springs.

In Casper, curbside popcorn is being offered at their Studio City Mesa location on Casper’s west side.

“We offer large, medium and small popcorn,” said Houck. “We also offer our Bravarian nuts and candy.”

The items have been discounted, he said, and can be ordered in combo packs.

“We thought it was important to let the community understand that we’re just trying to employ more workers, and not price gouge,” he said. “Everybody is suffering right now.”

The orders and payments are done online in advance. Customers can choose a pick-up time and when they arrive, where an employee will bring their order to the vehicle.

Fresh movie popcorn is delivered to a waiting vehicle on Tuesday afternoon at Studio City Mesa. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

The entire system reduces interaction to a minimum, including the work environment inside the theater. “We wanted to make it safe for the community and our workers,” said Houck.

After the Casper launch, the service has recently been rolled out at their Cheyenne location, said Houck.

“So far it’s been really successful, we love seeing the responses from people pulling up and the smiles,” he said. “Everybody’s stuck at home, and having that comfort of getting movie popcorn is great.”

Customers interested in curbside popcorn can visit the WyoMovies website, or follow them on Facebook. Hours of operation are listed on the website.

The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:

What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.

If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.

Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.

For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: covid@cnchd.org

  • Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.