Amid new regulations encouraging social distancing due to coronavirus, one industry is having a surprising heyday: Drive-in movie theaters. With all major American movie theater chains closed for the time being, families are flocking to these antiquated venues for some good old fashioned entertainment. According to The Los Angeles Timesticket sales at the Paramount Drive In in Lakewood, CA were “at least double” what they usually would be for a Tuesday. Paramount Drive In is one of the country’s 305 remaining drive-in theaters.

Back in the Dark Ages (AKA the 1950s), drive-in movie theaters were all the rage. A projector would be set up against a large background, and patrons would drive their cars straight up to the screen. Complete with concession stands, drive-in movie theaters had everything you needed to watch a movie from the comfort of your car. But as home entertainment technology improved over the years, these charming installations became all but extinct.

Now, drive-in movie theaters are experiencing a resurgence as people yearn for a form of entertainment that allows them to leave their homes while still following CDC regulations. Currently, the CDC recommends that citizens avoid groups of 50 or more people.“I don’t think we fit into the gathering category personally because all the gathering places are places where you are confined with a bunch of people,” said Doug Mercille, owner of the Starlite Drive-In in Cadet, MO. “At the drive-in, you’ve got to be in your own car.”

Not every drive-in theater has remained open during these times, and the decision to keep them open is a "gray area" decided on a case-by-case basis. Still, if you’re going stir-crazy, it’s worth checking to see if there’s an operating drive-in theater near you.

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