WARWICK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — After two months of quarantine, the owners of a drive-in theater in Warwick, New York, are hoping to give cooped-up New Yorkers a socially distanced escape from reality.
Beth Wilson’s family has owned the drive-in since 1977, offering up double features with a side of nostalgia.
“Some people love the drive-in just because it is a step back in time, and they can be with their family in their cars,” Wilson told CBS2’s Nick Caloway.
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Since social distancing is built right into the drive-in experience, Wilson is applying for a waiver with the state of New York that would allow her to reopen.
When she does, the plan is to limit the number of cars to about 50% capacity and ask customers to use apps for concessions in lieu of standing in line at the counter.
“I think everybody’s going to like the drive-in a little bit more. They are coming back in popularity,” Wilson said.
Since the pandemic started, the few drive-ins across the country that were allowed to remain open have seen a spike in business.
Meanwhile, plans are being drawn up at indoor movie theaters in anticipation of opening by mid-July, but even then, going to the movies won’t be the same as before the coronavirus.
Patrick Corcoran is with the National Association of Theatre Owners.
“There’s still going to be social distancing. There’s going to be enhanced cleaning procedures, and there’s going to be employees with masks and gloves making sure there’s social distancing in the lobby areas and concession areas, and limited seating in the auditoriums. It’s going to vary state by state,” Corcoran said.
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As for drive-ins, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he is considering allowing them to reopen.
Wilson says people are desperately craving a safe night out.
“We need entertainment. We need to be out, and this is a safe way to do it,” Wilson said.
There are no new movies slated to be released until mid-July, so when the Warwick Drive-In finally reopens, they’ll be playing vintage movies, but it’s better than staying at home for another two months.