(WIVB)–On Friday, drive-in movie theaters across the state will be allowed to open back up for business after having to delay openings due to the coronavirus.
“This year we had planned to open March 20 for “A Quiet Place Part Two” because it was filmed in Western New York and we also had pretty mild weather. So we had already made the announcement for the opening and then COVID-19 happened and we decided we’re just going to shut it down,” said Rick Cohen, owner of Transit Drive-In.
A shuttered snack bar, giant, blank white screens, and an empty parking lot marked what would have been opening day for the Transit Drive-In. But Cohen says his focus was on listening to state guidelines as he awaited word the beloved summer past time could start showing movies once again.
“We want to be open for the 15 and if anything we want to make sure we start working on our system and our procedures because everything is going to be different. Our top priority is going to be safety first and we’re going to have expectations of our customers that they’re going to work with us and be cooperative so everyone will remain safe, ” Cohen said.
Tickets will be sold online instead of at the gate and people will scan their tickets at the entrance before driving over to their screen. Once you’re in your designated spot, in order to leave to go to the concession stand or restroom, you must wear a mask -and protocols for those will be different as well.
“We will have an app for our concession stand so you can order your food while in the car, wait five or ten minutes and go pick it up, it will be grab and go. The restrooms will also be limited access. You’ll have a tenant in the bathrooms, disinfecting the stalls in between each use,” Cohen said.
While this will all be a huge adjustment for both staff and customers, Cohen says it’s something everyone can enjoy while keeping safe.
“The drive in experience by nature is a social distancing friendly experience, you can stay in your car, you can isolate from other people but still have this shared experience and enjoy the evening and enjoy the outdoors. So as long as people maintain that social distancing, it’s going to be safe for everybody.”
The drive-in will announce more movie details closer to the end of the week. Once they open as of Friday, they’ll be open seven days a week.
Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.