The coronavirus pandemic has put most of our social lives on hold or reduced it to a pale shadow of what it was. And for many of us, there is a definite limit to how much fun we can inject into our quarantine lifestyles through games and binge-watching Netflix.
But what if it was possible to enjoy a good date with a loved one while still respecting the physical distancing guidelines put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19?
With precisely that solution in mind—and amid a brutal economic downturn primarily slamming small businesses—restaurants across the United States have devised a novel solution that draws on American nostalgia, brings in paying clientele, while also offering a safe option for entertaining crowds.
Since social distancing rules began in March, restaurants across America have begun turning their parking lots into drive-in cinemas, offering an opportunity to stir-crazy couples and families craving a social outing such as dinner and a movie.
Peoples Restaurant and Loungein Corpus Christi, Texas, is a popular eatery that has seen revenue dry up since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
However, when it announced on April 18 that it would begin screening films in its parking lot—beginning with Toy Story 4—customers old and new quickly flocked back to snatch up tickets.
Co-owner Joe Gonzalez toldCorpus Christi Caller Times:
We are in awe on how quickly we sold out of tickets this week. The community’s response to our drive-in has really made a huge impact for us.
The idea was a result of family brainstorming as well as a trend that has swept the U.S. and other countriesin recent months.
We were having a hard time trying to stay afloat through carry-out and delivery. It was costing us more money to stay open that way.
But when one of my daughters came up with the drive-in idea, our whole family was on board and went straight to work to make it a reality.
Up north in Mingus, Texas, another restaurant also decided last month that it would be a good idea to revive drive-in theaters.
In a Facebook post, Clint Gibson, the owner of BJ’s Restaurant and Bar, announced that his restaurant would begin start films, beginning with baseball classic The Sandlot, while also offering old-school car-side service.
When the world is shutting down we have to go back to our roots for entertainment.
Over the past weekend, BJ’s also screened TombstoneandDirty Dancing, charging $10 per vehicle while urging patrons to show up early to reserve a highly sought-after spot.