Closure of drive-in cinema for alleged Covid-19 breaches ‘baffling’

‘Drive-in movies would be as safe as we could get,’ says Minister for Communications

Minister to share his concerns with officials ‘to see whether we can do anything’. File photograph: Getty

Minister to share his concerns with officials ‘to see whether we can do anything’. File photograph: Getty

 

Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan has questioned how a drive-in movie business could be seen as a health risk for the spread of Covid-19 after Retro Drive-in Movies in Leopardstown, Dublin, was closed for alleged breaches of regulations.

Mr Ryan will speak to Government colleagues “including officials dealing with the management of the public health crisis, to see whether anything can be done specifically in this instance”.

He said it seemed “that drive-in movies would be as safe as we could get”. He and Minister for Arts Catherine Martin will have meetings next week about the reopening of the country and “she is very keen that cinemas and theatres will start to reopen in a safe way”.

The Minister was responding to Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond who described the closure as “absolutely baffling”. The Dublin Rathdown TD said he had attended the drive-in cinemas last Friday and the closure was a surprise to the business itself as well as to customers.

Mr Richmond said the closure of the cinema “makes absolutely no sense” when people can go to non-essential retail and the zoo, travel intercounty and visit people in gardens they cannot drive and watch a film from the safety of their car.

He said that under statutory instrument or regulation 219 of 2021 Health Act 1947, “cinemas were listed as not permitted but drive-in cinemas were listed as an exception”.

The Minister assured him he would share his concerns with officials “to see whether we can do anything”.