A return to drive-in entertainment might be in the cards for New York

Written by on April 20, 2020

On Sunday, April 12, Governor Cuomo announced that he believed that drive-in movie venues could become re-listed as essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials with the Empire State Development corporation are currently researching the possibility. As the governor pointed out during his briefing: “Where is the public safety issue? It’s a drive-in theater. You’re in the car with the same people.”


Some drive-in owners have already applied for an exception to the essential business rule in the PAUSE Act given that their venues are outdoors and their parking spaces are already positioned several feet apart.

In Avon, the owner of Vintage Drive In, Paul Dean, explained to ABC WHAM 13 News that he has enough movies for large screenings in the form of both older and recent pre-PAUSE films. He also plans to institute new social distancing capacity and concessions rules. Dean emphasized Governor Cuomo’s sentiment: “This would be an avenue for people to come out and be safe and watch a movie from their car with their family.”

Empire State Development is currently in the process of reviewing all individual exception applications. It’s currently unknown if a broad, state-wide exception will be given in the near future.

This is an ongoing story.


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