Drive-in movie theaters making a comeback during pandemic

FRANKLIN, Ky. – During a time of social distancing, closings, and other extra precautions, drive-in theaters, like the one in Franklin, are making a comeback.

While many regular movie theaters remain closed, drive-ins are easier to follow social distancing guidelines, and are drawing crowds.

Drive in theaters, including the 50-year-old venue in Franklin, are making a comeback in light of COVID-19 restrictions.

For one local mom, safety for her children is the most important factor in choosing an outing.

“Being socially distant is very important to us and keeping our kids safe. And, going to the drive in we know we can keep our kids safe even during COVID. You can park far enough away from your neighbor next door and you don’t have to worry about coming into contact with someone being too close. It’s just a no brainer to me. We love it. We love going to the drive in,” said Nena Cook.

According to Gary Price, the owner of the Franklin drive-in, around 50 years ago when the theater began operations, there were over 4,000 drive-ins in the nation.

Now, there are just over 300.

But because indoor theaters remain closed people who wouldn’t normally show up are rolling in.

“We’ve seen our numbers increase each weekend as people find out that, ‘hey, that is something that we can do,’ and still feel relatively safe about being out there and watching a movie” said Price.

“We’ve seen new people that have never been to a drive in almost every weekend,” said Price.

Although they are currently showing older movies, Price hopes new movie releases will bring in more people.

“I don’t know that we are busier just because we can’t park as many cars, there not any blockbuster movies yet. We are hoping that in August they start releasing new movies,” said Price.

And it’s not just movies being shown on the big screen. Brand new concerts, featuring performers like Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton, are also taking center stage.

“I’ll be the first to tell you that it is not the same as a live concert, but to be able to come out if you enjoy music and enjoy being outside and enjoy being with family and friends, it is a great opportunity now where there is really no other opportunity to do that,” said Price.

The drive-in requires masks to be worn when outside of your parking space.

Cars are also more spaced out than normal due to social distancing.