Mar 21, 2020 - Health

Drive-in theaters report uptick in business amid coronavirus

In this image, a girl holding a baseball bat is projected on the side of a building in front of cars

"A League of Their Own" playing at Union Market in Washington, D.C. in July 2019. Photo: Marlena Sloss/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Drive-in theaters in Missouri, Oklahoma, California and Kansas are reporting increased business as more states promote social distancing and mandate stay-at-home policies to combat the novel coronavirus, the Los Angeles Times reports.

What they're saying: “Nobody is near us, and we can actually enjoy the movie without feeling that paranoia where something like somebody coughing would have us instantly move,” Christian Singleton, who brought his 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son to the California Paramount Drive-In on Tuesday, told the Times.

The big picture: New York currently has the most drive-in screens in the country at 49 — while Pennsylvania has 45 and California and Ohio each have 44 screens, according to the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association.

  • The number of drive-in theater sites in the country has slowly declined since 1999, per the association's data.

The bottom line: Even if patrons at drive-in theaters don't physically interact with anyone, state governments can still close them to enforce bans on gatherings.

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