With movie theatres closed around the world because of the coronavirus pandemic, some are speculating that 2020 may be the year of the drive-in.It seems that the ability to watch theatrical releases on the big screen has people across North America rekindling their love affair with the drive in.Now movie fans in the Okanagan can head to Enderby’s Starlight Drive In to get their big-screen fix without leaving the safety of their vehicle.Even though it was just a test opening, the Starlight Drive-In swung its gates open on Thursday night to a select few as part of its COVID-19 trial run.
“We are testing all our changes so that we can be sure that everything that we have put in place will meet provincial guidelines,” said Brian Smith of the Starlight Drive-In.In order to follow B.C.’s physical distancing public health order, the Starlight has made many changes.Some of the changes include limited hours, activities and attendance.Lawn-chair lovers, don’t worry: You can still watch from outside your vehicle, but you must stay within your 20-foot stall.
As well, there’s a new simplified pricing structure, along with an online ticket reservation system.“You must buy your ticket in advance,” Smith said. “If you don’t have a ticket when you get here you will be turned away.”Opening night was sold out, with movie-goers lined up early as everyone was anxious to get out of the house and see something on the silver screen.
“It’s something great that the kids get to experience, getting out the house, since they can’t go to school and they can’t do anything else,” Veronica Terlicki said as she waited in line to be admitted.Mathew Davies and his family were first in line for the opening test run.“The kids like going to it. We come every year,” Davies said.This year, though, Davies says it’s a new adventure with all the rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Those who crave movie popcorn don’t have to worry, either, as the Starlight’s concession stand is still open.“Letting in, I believe, only seven people at a time, same as the washrooms,” said Makena Lutz, an employee at the Starlight.However, those aren’t the only things COVID-19 has limited access to: New releases are also in short supply.So Thursday’s double bill showing was Sonic the Hedgehog for the kids, and the cinematic masterpiece 1917 for mom and dad.
‘Movies is a thing that everybody does and being in the safety of your own car is definitely a relief for a lot of people,” Lutz said about the popularity of the drive-in right now.The Starlight Drive-In says its ability to stay open will depend entirely upon moviegoers doing their part to respect social distancing.“Our goal,” said Smith, “is to keep everyone in their own space.”
Coronavirus: Drive-in operators set sights on summer to open outdoor theatres
The best shows and movies to Netflix and self isolate with
Coronavirus outbreak: Stars of ‘Contagion’ movie reunite to film PSAs on COVID-19
Coronavirus outbreak: Harvey Weinstein tests positive for COVID-19 from prison
Minute at the Movies: Jan. 17
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.