Even as parts of the state enter Phase The coronavirus means that a lot of business are closed or severely limited - but drive-in movie theaters are roaring back.
Traditional theater chains are closed, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has allowed drive-in theaters to reopen under his phased plan to reboot the economy. The governor’s guidance has even led to new drive-ins opening across the state, even in New York City.
“Where is the public safety issue? It’s a drive-in theater. You’re in the car with the same people,” said Cuomo during a daily briefing on April 12.
Located in Dutchess County in the small town of Amenia, Four Brothers Drive-In is one out of the many drive-in theaters to flourish across the state during this difficult time.
Four Brothers, which opened in 2014, also shut down its operation as the state saw a surge of COVID-19 cases in early March. But they were able to reopen earlier in the spring.
“Drive-ins have been very important to the culture of classic Americana. The motor vehicle ages of America in the 50’s and 60’s and how people would come together in these giant drive-ins to enjoy a night out,” said John Stefanopoulos, owner of Four Brothers Drive-in. “Drive Ins are unique in how they can bring people together but separately.”
To curtail the spread of COVID-19, government officials have asked that moviegoers wear masks and to remain in their vehicles unless they have to use the restroom.
“Masks must be worn if you cannot maintain 6 feet between your party and others. Masks must be worn when you visit the snack bar and bathrooms,” said management of Hyde Park Drive-In.
Most Drive-In Theaters are located upstate but even some NYC restaurants such as Bel Aire Diner in Astoria have traded in the traditional “dine-in” experience for the drive-in model to keep things creative.
“I’m not generally a movie-theater-goer, so if anything, this experience made me want to leave my apartment to see movies on a big screen more often. I particularly enjoyed the drive-in experience because I can sit in the safety and comfort of my own car and order food right to my window or if not at a diner, pack my own snacks,” said recent drive-in visitor Zoe Ferranti.