How COVID-19 could change the drive-in movie experience on P.E.I.
'New movies are not going to be a thing for the foreseeable future'
While big movie releases are on hold during COVID-19 restrictions, the owner of P.E.I.'s Brackley Drive-In says he's planning for a possible opening in mid-June, under new guidelines.
"Going forward it will be different, it will depend on where we are with the virus," said owner Bob Boyle.
Across North America and the world, Boyle noted drive-ins have reopened under new protocols designed to adapt to the pandemic.
He said among the new policies followed by some drive-ins are capping the number of cars permitted at a time, increasing the space between cars and shifting to online ordering systems for snacks.
"The only issue I see with it … is the washrooms. And how you police that and keep that in an orderly fashion," he said.
New measures in a COVID-19 world
Ahead of the upcoming season, Boyle said he's looking at what updated protocols he can apply to his own drive-in, should it be permitted by public health to go ahead as an outdoor activity.
"Right now there are posts setting out the parking spots, normally two vehicles would park in between and we would eliminate that to one vehicle," he said.
"Another thing we would do is, we would do away with car load pricing so that there is no incentive to take car loads of people to the drive-in. We want them to be either a couple or a family unit that lives in the same dwelling."
Whatever new measures are put in place, Boyle said all the tools are there to make the new circumstances work.
But he feels if anything, the pandemic has "revived the drive-in experience" as pop-up drive-ins have cropped up across Germany and some theatres in Texas have even painted the outside of their buildings to transform them into a drive-in.
The larger films, the Marvel movies, you're not going to see those until Hollywood is confident that there's going to be an audience.— Bob Boyle, Brackley Drive-In
One of the other challenges the business will have to overcome is the lack of new releases.
"New movies are not going to be a thing for the foreseeable future. The newest movie scheduled to come out is in August," Boyle said.
But that could change, he said, as the situation in the U.S. evolves.
"Smaller films will probably release, the larger films, the Marvel movies, you're not going to see those until Hollywood is confident that there's going to be an audience to watch their films."
To make the experience more fun and gauge people's interest, the drive-in may take to weekly online polling of customers, offering them a set of options and allowing them to decide what ends up on the screen.
COVID-19: What you need to know
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms include:
But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.
Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.
How can I protect myself?
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.
- Practise physical distancing.
More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
More from CBC P.E.I.
With files from Island Morning