Amid coronavirus outbreak, the Drive-in is back.
While most entertainment venues and events are closing down, it looks as though Australia’s last few remaining drive-in theatres are experiencing a surge in interest.
Traditional cinemas are off the table due to increased social distancing and not being allowed to have more than 25 people per square metre in a theatre at a time.
Just last week The Munro theatre in Babinda announced that they were temporarily closed until further notice to assist in minimising the spread of coronavirus.
It’s believed that there are less than 20 Drive-in theatres still operating across Australia.
The Mareeba Drive opened in 1960 and has been entertaining locals under star-filled skies since then.
Owner and Manager Raelene Newell said business is only just starting to pick up after the wet season “Wet season kills us, it’s been very quiet, we haven’t been making any money.”
But Raelene says there are advantages to going to the Drive-in during the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The Drive-in is an open space so it’s a lot safer, you get two movies cheaper than the price of one at a cinema and according to government regulations we can still operate and have up to 500 people because we are outdoors”
“You get to sit in your own car and not next to a complete stranger”
In America, some Drive-ins have seen patronage double while multiplex cinema complexes are closing down due to the Covid-19 scare.
Although Raelene admits that the current virus scare has had a downside to her business “We have been having problems getting toilet paper for our customers, last weekend we had people stealing toilet paper from our bathrooms.”
“But apart from that, the Drive-in is a welcome relief for families and adults looking for a safe place away from their house, because you’ve got to be in your own car.”