LANGLEY (NEWS 1130) — Langley’s Twilight Drive-In Theatre is pushing back against provincial restrictions that limit gatherings, saying a drive-in event (like those inspired by physical distancing needs) is not the same as an established business.
The Ministry of Health dropped new Phase 2 restrictions that limits gatherings to 50 vehicles and restricts the sale of food and drink.
“This new restriction clearly has come up now in response to a number of people trying to capitalize off COVID-19 by proposing temporary pop-up parking lot drive-in and concert events. They would not have the same permanent infrastructure and facilities as us,’” reads a post from the company.
“Furthermore, we hold a ‘take out food’ license, which was permitted in Phase 1 and still is in Phase 2. But now to single us out saying that our ‘take out food’ license isn’t valid while everyone’s else is, is completely unfair.”
Twilight is rallying its supporters and has gathered more than 1,300 signatures online to call for the province to reconsider the rules or offer an exception to drive-in theatres.
The company says it has already voluntarily reduced its capacity by half and is selling-out to the tune of 200 vehicles most nights.
Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked about the new order on Monday, and about drive-ins specifically, she stood firmly behind the decision.
“This is this phase where we are gradually moving into opening things up and we need to be very cognizant of having small numbers of people,” she said.
She added when people attend events in cars and stay in their cars it can be a “less risky” environment, and so more than one person can be in a vehicle at a time.
“That becomes a very challenging situation when you have large numbers of vehicles and to be able to monitor and ensure that you don’t have those multiple numbers of connections becomes much more challenging.”
Henry said the rules came into place after the province became aware of a number of events planned that were “going to be quite large.”
Twilight operators maintain they have the situation under control and have established COVID-19 practices to keep employees and visitors safe.
“Drive-ins across Canada are being allowed to open under their province’s Phase 1 reopenings, with identical protocols we have in place, and now we are being restricted more than them, in Phase 2,” says the company’s Facebook Post.
“We are seeking a reconsideration and exemption from the Ministry of Health.”