After two days of no films up on the big screen at the Twilight Drive-In in Aldergrove, there comes a glimmer of hope Thursday night as showings plan to resume.
Owner Jay Daulat had closed his business – the last remaining drive-in theatre in Metro Vancouver – due to a 50-car limit imposed on Friday by provincial health officers, to limit COVID-19 spread.
But now he’s reopening.
“We’re not just doing this on our own accord,” Daulat assured.
He said Fraser Health gave the business owner the verbal go-ahead to operate its concession, which will provide him with a viable option to turn a profit while sticking to a 50-car limit.
Daulat believes the decision was made after he told a Fraser Health official about his take-out licence to serve food, separate from his regular business permit.
“I questioned: ‘What is stopping our business from serving people dinner before the movie begins? We are a licenced take-out operation after all.’”
Daulat said he believes health officials begining to understand “that we are different from a pop-up event or operation.”
It’s something the owner has stressed since he made the decision to close down operations Tuesday night, while awaiting a health ministry decision to his request for an exemption – to both the 50-car limit and a concession restriction.
“We are a permanent business,” Daulat emphasized, still hoping for an exemption. “Not a pop-up event.”
Since then, over 19,000 people have signed an online petition to get the outdoor theatre back up-and-running amid the pandemic.
The first film screened Thursday night will be the 1970-80’s classic Grease.
To serve as many cars as possible, the drive-in will clear out its lot after its first screening, welcoming 50 more ticket holders in cars for a second film.
“In effect, we will be serving 100 cars each night,” Daulat explained.
Every carload of moviegoers will pay a flat $50 rate to enjoy the show. That is “so long as there is a legal amount of people in the vehicle,” the owner stressed.
“There must be seatbelts for everybody.”
Those watching the films must stay in their cars, unless they are using the on-site washrooms.