One of Manitoba’s two remaining drive-in movie theatres is preparing to open for the season on the weekend, as the province enters into phase two of its gradual reopening this week.
Marlene Nelson, owner of the Stardust Drive-In Theatre in Morden, Man., told 680 CJOB there’s no better place than a drive-in for a night out while remaining socially distanced.
“You couldn’t look for anything better for social distancing or being safe than being in your own vehicle,” Nelson said.
“(The province is) emphasizing there has to be the social distancing, so as a result, we’re keeping our numbers down for admission — for how many we’re allowing into our site to ensure there is some social distancing and to give people that safe zone,” she said.
Nelson said the theatre began implementing changes during the first phase of the province’s reopening, so they would be prepared for audiences in phase two.
In addition to limiting the number of vehicles admitted, the Stardust has also come up with a unique way to handle concessions.
“We’ll be offering the menu at the ticket booth so that everyone gets a menu and can see what’s available and the pricing and everything like that right in your vehicle,” she said.
“You will have the option of sending one person from your vehicle and placing an order or picking that way… or calling in and placing an order. We would call you back and say your order is ready to go if you’re doing cooked food.”
Although Nelson said her theatre has experienced a rejuvenation since going digital in 2016, drive-ins are becoming few and far between, and she hopes the COVID-19 pandemic will encourage people from across the province to check out a movie on the big outdoor screen for the first time.
“We’re hoping that people who have not experienced it before as well will take this opportunity. It gives them the perfect chance to be able to get out and experience something that is a bit more normal.
“I think that what it is an opportunity for people to realize it is in their backyard. We do still have this option.”
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Nelson said the theatre has also been considered as a way to broadcast church services and provide one-of-a-kind, socially distanced high school graduation events for local students.
As Manitoba’s second phase began Monday, health officials said there were no new cases of novel coronavirus to report.
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