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

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press Media file
Port Hardy RCMP on the hunt for porta-pottie arsonist

The porta-potties were lit on fire early in the morning on June 13

Eke Me-Xi students enjoy a field trip to Malcolm Island. (Submitted photos)
Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre takes field trip to Malcolm Island

Once at Bere Point, students made themselves at home in the day-use area

Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair logo
Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair cancelled again due to COVID-19 restrictions

The 2022 fall fair is still scheduled to take place in Port Hardy

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read