‘It’s going to look different’: Drive-in theatre preparing for season amid COVID-19 pandemic

By | April 30, 2020

WINNIPEG — Changes will be in effect for one drive-in theatre in Morden, Man., due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is going to look different,” said Marlene Nelson, a partner at the Stardust Drive-in Theatre, which has been in operation for nearly 60 years.

“For the part of the social distancing, we’re probably going to have to look at what they’ve been doing at other drive-ins, is every other parking spot to leave extra space and then to limit how many people are in the concession booth at any time.” 

Nelson said they are also counting on people coming together to the drive-in as families, which will make it easier to keep physical distancing measures in place. She added that the Stardust can normally accommodate 250 vehicles but the spacing will need to be cut in half this year.

“I’m really hoping that we can make it that it’s a great place people can go out yet keeping safe,” she said, noting she’s heard good things about how things are going for drive-ins in the United States and British Columbia.

“We’re really watching closely to see how it works for them.

As for the numerous film releases that have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nelson noted that it has come into play for the Stardust.

“One of the nice things is we can pick the top movies that have been released that are fairly current still and they should be available,” she said, adding they will also bring back some classics.

The theatre normally opens on the May long weekend, but Nelson said in an interview on Tuesday she doesn’t know if they’ll be able to depending on public health regulations. 

She added that Manitobans have been expressing their excitement about coming to the theatre.

“Everybody is excited, they can barely wait for it to open,” she said.

As for those in Winnipeg who are thinking about making the trip out to Morden, Nelson said: “They always say that it’s worth the trip.”

Updates on the theatre can be found on its website and Facebook page.

– With files from CTV’s Danton Unger.

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