- Drive-in theaters across the US are seeing a surge in customers as more Americans have been ordered to avoid as much physical contact as possible to slow the coronavirus outbreak.
- Some drive-in theaters have seen a spike in ticket sales as people who have been ordered to avoid gathering in public spaces have had to get creative to stave off cabin fever and keep entertained.
- The entertainment industry is just one aspect of the pandemic upending life across the globe, which has sparked new takes on ways to keep up on working, dating, fitness, and hobbies.
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Drive-in theaters across the US are seeing a surge in customers as Americans weigh their now-limited entertainment options amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Owners of drive-in theaters in California, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri told the Los Angeles Times that they had seen a rise in ticket sales as other public spaces like bars and restaurants were ordered closed to encourage social distancing.
The theaters offer an interesting alternative to staying home while staying safe, though areas like concession stands and public bathrooms could still pose a risk for spreading infection by contact.
As of March 20, 75 million residents of Connecticut, Illinois, New York, and California have been ordered by state authorities to stay home as much as possible to slow the spread of the virus and prevent overwhelming healthcare systems. Those ordered to stay home by their workplaces and schools have had to get creative to stave off cabin fever and keep entertained.
"It has been a welcome relief for families and adults looking for a little getaway from the house," Beau Bianchi, whose family has owned the facility in Paramount since 1946, told the Times. "We've been trying to let people know that we have a safe environment and [offer] a little escape."
Bianchi told the newspaper that ticket sales had been "at least double" the typical amount the previous Tuesday and that the theater sold 320 tickets that day. The family's indoor theater was closed two days earlier due to coronavirus.
Even drive-in theaters could be at risk as the outbreak worsens, as the Times noted some that were located in areas hit hard by coronavirus would close in accordance with local guidelines or comments by federal public health officials who have strongly recommended against gatherings of more than 50 people.
Movie theaters were some of the first public spaces to come into the spotlight as possibly risky sites and major theater chains like AMC and Regal announced they were closing to address the outbreak. The hit to theaters from the virus-related closures was so large that industry reps have demanded a government bail-out in the face of "unprecedented challenge to the business," according to The Associated Press.
The outbreak has upended life across the globe, as people of all ages try and cope with new home-based takes on keeping up their working, dating, fitness, and hobbies.
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