The Hottest Ticket In Town: Amid A Pandemic, Drive-In Movie Theaters Are Back

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As the rest of the 'experience economy' is collapsing under lockdowns, drive-ins aren't just making a comeback — they're booming. 'As long as these are weird times, let’s just get weird and embrace it,' one drive-in owner says. wgbhnews

It’s opening night at the Mendon Twin Drive-In, and business is good. Cars are lined up in every other spot in the lot, with poles and cinderblocks between them for social distancing purposes. At a minute past midnight, the screens light up with the first movies of the season: Rocky Horror Picture Show on one, and Jurassic Park on another. The Memorial Day start is a late one for the theater in Mendon, Mass.

And while the pandemic has led to tough times for indoor theaters — which remain closed statewide — it has led to a boom in the drive-in business, operators say. Some are even creating theaters where none ever existed. Marco Shalma of MASC Hospitality is part of a team turning the parking deck of Yankee Stadium into a drive-in. For Shalma, it is a way for his business to bounce back from the cancellation of in-person events.

“No message from theater operators is going to say it’s safe to come back," he said."What’s going to happen is that [patrons] are going to see what [theater operators] are doing and judge for themselves and come back if they feel secure about it.” “We did have to tell some people that they did need to wear masks,” said Forcier of Your Neighborhood Theatres. “And that’s pretty much the normal, I’m sure, that’s happening in most businesses that are requiring a mask to enter.”“It has always been our policy that you’ll either obey the rules and staff instructions or you will be ejected without refund,” he said, adding that he’ll be running the business every night himself until he’s sure things are going smoothly.

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JohnStatonSN wgbhnews I'd rather sit in my recliner and watch Netflix.

wgbhnews Let's have a gay old time!

wgbhnews Love drive ins

wgbhnews Any business owner who's plan is 'let's get weird' can have all of my money 💸

wgbhnews The 'inexperienced econmy' you are for seems like catastrophic waste of time.

wgbhnews Internationally no less. I tap my foot waiting for Buffet to announce he has bought every drive in on the planet.;)

wgbhnews Restrooms?

wgbhnews That’s cool

wgbhnews I want someone to take me to a drive in movie.

wgbhnews They’d be doing better if the studios were releasing new films

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