Twilight Drive-In has been capped to 50 cars due to a provincial health ban order amended on Friday, May 22. Owner Jay Daulat is fighting for an health ministry exemption to the ruling, to allow more cars to buy in, attend, and keep his business afloat. (Aldergrove Star files)

Twilight Drive-In has been capped to 50 cars due to a provincial health ban order amended on Friday, May 22. Owner Jay Daulat is fighting for an health ministry exemption to the ruling, to allow more cars to buy in, attend, and keep his business afloat. (Aldergrove Star files)

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

Monday night in Aldergrove saw Twilight Drive-In welcome more than 100 cars in its lot to see Indiana Jones projected high upon its 40-foot screen.

That afternoon, owner Jay Daulat found out an amended provincial health ban – restricting events to no more than 50 vehicles – also applied to his business.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was probed more than once during Monday’s COVID-19 briefing, asked whether drive-in theatres were supposed to limit moviegoers.

After replying yes, Henry said “it becomes a very challenging situation when you have large numbers of vehicles, to be able to monitor and ensure you don’t have those multiple numbers of connections,” possibly transmitting the virus.

When the ruling came into effect on Friday, Daulat was under the impression that the drive-in – being “an established business, not a pop-up event” – was exempt.

The owner said he figured the ban swung down to address a number of pop-up drive-in movie theatres and concerts planned for the summer.

As such, Twilight continued selling movie tickets online and kept concession stands up and running.

Bylaw approval for 200 cars early spring

Daulat is still reluctant to accept that his business of 15 years, licensed by the Township of Langley, is the one affected.

Prior to Phase 1 of B.C.’s Restart Plan, Twilight voluntarily halved its car occupancy to 200, ensuring a 20-foot radius between each parked vehicle, Daulat said.

Normally up to 400 cars would swing by for a movie showing.

“We are better than guidelines,” Daulat told the Aldergrove Star about the distancing.

Plus, he said, people are socially isolating inside of vehicles.

RELATED: Drive-In boasts films from ‘the privacy of your own vehicle’ amid COVID-19

Reliant upon concession sales to stay float

In a joint statement released from Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix May 22, refreshment sales are also restricted for drive-in events.

“Anyone attending these events must stay in their cars unless they have to go to washrooms, which must be serviced with running water for proper hand hygiene,” the statement read.

Daulat said that without the sale of refreshments, the Twilight Drive-In, simply put, “would not run.”

“We would have to close,” he said, mentioning overhead costs.

“Concession stand sales are a major part for us. It’s just not feasible [to remove them],” the owner elaborated. Especially if only 50 cars are able to purchase movie tickets each night, he said.

The drive-in was initially approved to operate by Langley Township, and Daulat said Dr. Henry’s office also gave the business the go-ahead after seeing its social distancing protocol early March.

The owner said he had faxed her office the plans.

“But in Phase 2, we’re all of a sudden no good, but other businesses are?” Daulat questioned.

READ MORE: Twilight Drive-In turns ‘hundreds of cars away’ amid pandemic

Petitioning to stay

Earlier this week, he sent the health ministry files that requested an immediate exemption be granted for Twilight – so that he can continue operating.

“What we are doing is putting a reconsideration of the exemption in her hands [Tuesday] morning and getting the answer by end of the day,” he said, optimistically.

Meantime, the Twilight Drive-In has begun a public campaign asking for signatures and written letters and emails of support from its community of customers.

“Drive-ins across Canada are being allowed to open under their province’s Phase 1 of reopening – with identical protocols we have in place – and now we are being restricted more than them, in Phase 2,” Daulat posted on Twilight Drive-In’s Facebook page.

As of Tuesday morning, the public plea had close to 900 shares.

“We are asking you to tell them that you do not agree with these new restrictions being placed on permanent drive-in theatres,” it reads.

A petition created by the business on Monday, May 25, garnered more than 3,000 signatures overnight.

In a recent COVID-19 provincial health briefing, Henry has said there could be a time this summer when the number of vehicles allowed at events is expanded, but she stood firm the current restriction, saying “this is what we need to do right now.”

AldergroveCoronavirus

Just Posted

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

Tim Wilkinson, who will attempt a double anvil triathlon on Vancouver Island on July 3, poses with his training partner, Shadow, who has been dragged up and down the Nanaimo Parkway many times. (Submitted)
Vancouver Island triathlete takes on ‘double anvil’ for charity

7.6km swim, 360km bike ride, and 84.4km run, all within 36 hours

From left: Thomas Kuecks, David Lane, John Ivison, Denis Berger, Rod Gray, and James Kuecks are Cabin Fever. Catch their performance on the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre website. (Ashley Foot photo)
A&E column: Music Festival winners, CVAC awards, and Cabin Fever

The latest from the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read