With theaters closed, many turn to the drive-in
By Harley Benda
With the COVID-19 pandemic, many brick-and-mortar movie theaters aren’t open for business.
But, many drive-in movie theaters are still holding steady on their attendance numbers, as social distancing is more possible and movie-goers can relax in their cars to watch a movie.
The Skyview Drive-In, in Carmichaels, Pa., opened when Pennsylvania’s governor declared regular movie theaters could open May 13. Owners Elizabeth and Charles Walker said they were seeing the increase, until lately.
“When we first opened up in the middle of May, it was normal business for a few weekends. But then, it has started declining,” Charles Walker said.
One reason Walker suspects there is lower attendance is the lack of new movies.
“There’s no new movies from the big studios, so we have new movies from small independents, and we’re playing retros. We’re about a third from what we normally would be.”
Many studios that create movies are also unable to continue to film due to social distancing requirements, and many studios do not want to put new movies out because of the lack of theaters open, according to Walker.
Walker also said it depends on location, as to how drive-ins are doing.
“We’re not located near a big city,” he said. “There’s a few drive-ins near Columbus, Ohio. There’s one near Cleveland, Ohio. Some drive-ins are doing better, but we’re in a small, rural community.”
Drive-in theaters have to follow rules for social distancing, including only allowing 50% capacity, wearing masks when outside of your parking space, space between each car, and limited people in the concession stand at one time.
The Skyview Drive-In box office opens at 8 p.m., and movies start at dusk. Admission is $8 for adults (age 12 and older) and $4 for children 11 and under. To check out an updated schedule of movies, visit https://www.skyviewdriveinpa.com.
Other drive-ins in the area include the Sunset Drive-In, in Meadowbrook, and Comet Drive-In, in Dunbar Pa.
Sunset Drive-In’s box office opens at 7 p.m. and the first movie begins at 9 p.m. Admission is $5 for 5-11 year olds, and $9 for those 12 and older. Info: sunsetdriveinmovies.com.
The Comet Drive-In’s box office opens at 7:30 p.m., and the first movie starts at 9 p.m. Admission costs $10 for 12 years and older, $4 for children 4-11years old, and free for children 3 years and younger. Cash-only at this time for admission and concessions. The concession stand closes 30 minutes after intermission.