Drive-In Cinemas Reopen in England as Safety Guidelines Published

Drive-in Festival

The U.K. Cinema Association has published safety guidelines for the re-opening of drive-in cinemas, which are allowed to open in England from Monday.

Although there are only a reported 20 drive-in cinemas in the U.K. and the concept has not taken off as in the U.S., their reopening is being seen as the first step in the recovery of the U.K. cinema sector from the COVID-19 lockdown.

It’s likely that drive-in cinemas will see something of a resurgence in coming weeks, and the guidelines are intended to provide advice for operators to ensure the safety of customers and staff.

The advice focuses on areas such as hygiene, maintaining social distancing and serving food and drink. The full guidelines can be found here.

U.K. Cinema Association chief executive Phil Clapp said: “It’s fair I think to say that we’ve been on a steep learning curve around the operation of drive-in cinemas given their relative scarcity until now.

“While we will be delighted to see drive-ins flourish in the coming weeks, months and years, our key focus remains ensuring that the hundreds of cinema venues across the U.K. that have now been closed for almost three months are able to open as soon as possible. Our work on guidelines for those sites continues, and we hope to make an announcement soon.”

The drive-in cinema guidelines have been prepared in consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the British Film Institute, the Screen Sector Task Force, the Independent Cinema Office and Bectu, Public Health England (PHE), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the devolved nations.

The U.K. Cinema Association said the guidance currently only relates to England, and that it should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements and legislation in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.