Mar 21, 2020 - Health

Drive-in theaters report uptick in business amid coronavirus

"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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The big picture: Trends toward e-commerce, delivery services and online entertainment have long been underway, but this moment is accelerating them — and pushing the companies and industries behind them into a new position of dominance.

96% of small business owners are already feeling coronavirus impact

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Why it matters: Much of the conversation around the economic effects of the outbreak has centered on the stock market and bailouts for large corporations, but its most acute impacts are being felt on Main Streets around the country.

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2020 Lexus NX300h. Photo: Lexus

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