New Jersey's last true drive-in movie theater seeks help to reopen

New Jersey’s last remaining true drive-in movie theater is hoping to get the attention of Gov. Phil Murphy so that it can reopen.

News 12 Staff

May 4, 2020, 10:46 AM

Updated 1,444 days ago

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New Jersey’s last remaining true drive-in movie theater is hoping to get the attention of Gov. Phil Murphy so that it can reopen.
The Delsea Drive-In in Vineland was supposed to open just one day before the governor put the COVID-19 stay-at-home order into effect. The owners say that they have plans in place to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
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“We wanted the attention so that we could be considered. That is it. Just to be considered because I honestly do not believe that Gov. Murphy, for a split second, would think, ‘There’s a drive-in theater in South Jersey. What about them?’” says co-owner Jude DeLeonardis.
The owners say that the drive-in is pretty contactless to begin with. A lot of people stay in their cars already. But they say that if they do reopen, they have procedures to make the theater even safer, including online ticket sales, online food ordering and spacing cars out even more than they already do.
“The easiest thing for us would be to do every other spot to provide the distance,” DeLeonardis says. “That’s half capacity. So, we may be looking at – with social distancing – close to 300 cars."
DeLeonardis says that the concession building would be closed to the public and that patrons can order their food and snacks online and then pick the orders up at the door.
She says that she hopes to get the go-ahead to reopen soon as the bills continue to add up.
“If we don’t open by Memorial Day, my next headache is going to be, ‘How do I pay the mortgage in July when the moratorium has ended?’ because you need time to accrue revenue,” DeLeonardis says.
The owners put out a post on social media asking for support from Rep. Jeff Van Drew and other leaders to get in contact with Murphy. This came after an announcement that a pop-up drive-in theater could happen in Jackson by the end of the month.
 
 


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