While movie theaters and other entertainment sources are closed due to COVID-19, the drive-in theater in Rexburg, Idaho remains open.
The buttery smell of popcorn is now reserved for our homes or, in the case of towns like Rexburg, drive-in theaters. As movie theaters in Rexburg have temporarily closed and new releases remain in a state of limbo. Many movies have pushed back their opening dates or go directly to streaming and DVD. During this pandemic one of the only ways to find the “big screen” is from your car.
Drive-ins are authorized to remain open during the pandemic while maintaining health and safety regulations. Some of these health standards include consistent cleaning of bathrooms, ensuring everyone stays in their cars, maintaining distanced parking and more.
“We’ve reduced our maximum allowance from 360 cars to about 250 to keep everyone safe,” said Brenden Andrews, co-owner of the Teton Vu Drive-In Theater. “We have to keep the cars spaced out.”
With the increase in safety standards, they still provide concessions through their website accessible on mobile devices.
“We’ve created a way for them to order snacks through their phone to make sure they stay in their cars during the movies,” said Vanessa Bratt, another co-owner of Teton Vu Drive-In. “We also do ticket sales online.”
Employees at the drive-in also remain safe during the pandemic.
“We’ve cut down employee hours and gave some employees the choice whether they were comfortable working or not,” Bratt said. “We’ve lost a large number of employees from this.”
Film studios have closed, causing the Teton Vu Drive-In to run into difficulties with the movie industry pushing back films.
“New movie releases won’t return back to normal till November,” Bratt said. “So we’ve been reaching out to various companies for classics and independent movies.”
Some of the movies played have been “Grease,” “Valley Girl” and “Onward.” New movies may not be coming out, but the demand hasn’t changed.
“People are still coming out; our sales haven’t really dipped much,” Andrews said. “Our opening night sold out.”
Purchasing a ticket must be done online to limit exposure between employees and customers.
The Teton Vu Drive-In has been opened for 11 years and is connected with Paramount 5 theater, also located in Rexburg. For more information about Teton Vu Drive-In, visit its website.