Coronavirus News: Drive-in movie theaters seeing resurgence during COVID-19

NORTH HEMPSTEAD, Long Island (WABC) -- The coronavirus pandemic has provided a resurgence for a form of entertainment relatively unseen in recent decades: the drive-in movie theater.

"Talk about going back to the future," Governor Andrew Cuomo said earlier this week. "Back to drive-in movie theaters. I'm OK with that, by the way."

On Long Island, North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and the Town Board recently announced the launch of a brand-new drive-in movie series at town facilities.

Films will be projected onto large outdoor screens for residents to enjoy a night out while also following social distancing protocols.

The first movie to be shown will be "The Goonies" on May 23 at North Hempstead Beach Park in Port Washington, and officials said that all spaces were quickly filled.

North Hempstead would like people to arrive by 8 p.m., with gates closing 8:30. The shows start at 9 p.m.

Due to the overwhelming popularity, the town is actively working to find new locations.

"I am so pleased that we will be able to bring drive-in movies to North Hempstead," Bosworth said. "This program is fun, family-friendly, and, most importantly, in-line with the social-distancing guidelines we have all been following over the last two months."

It also provides an opportunity to give back. While registration is free, the town is encouraging attendees to bring non-perishable/canned foods to each showing as part of North Hempstead's donation drive.

"During these uncertain times, many families and individuals are finding themselves in need," Bosworth said. "The town is making an effort to assist vulnerable populations by launching this donation effort in conjunction with our drive-in events."

Residents are being asked to register their cars in advance by visiting NorthHempsteadNY.gov/drive-in or calling 311.

The program is expected to take place every Saturday after sundown, starting on May 23, continuing into summer months. A detailed schedule will be posted on the Town's website.

Presently, the showings will take place at either North Hempstead Beach Park in Port Washington, Clinton G. Martin Park in New Hyde Park, and Manorhaven Beach Park in Port Washington.

Due to the popularity, the town is adding Sunday drive-in shows..

There will be no food available for purchase at these events, and residents are encouraged to bring their own snacks.

Portable toilets and sinks will be provided, though some area residents expressed concerns about hygiene.

"If we were going, I would instruct everybody in my car to stop drinking two hours before we go," North Hempstead resident Dawn Andrew said, laughing.

Still, drive-in management promising the staff will be making sure that social distancing is in place, that people are safe, and that the porta-potties will be monitored.

Elsewhere in New York, the owner of the Warwick Drive-In in Orange County couldn't be happier.

"I can't wait to see my customers, my employees," Beth Wilson said. "I'm going to cry just sitting here, talking to you."

They'll be showing newer movies like "Trolls," but the Long Island venues are more nostalgic, with "Grease" and "Frozen 2" planned for future viewings

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