Drive-in theaters spearhead petition as they plead state to reopen

Drive-in theaters spearhead petition as they plead state to reopen

SHELTON, Wash. — On a warm Washington night, there’s nothing quite like catching a movie at the drive-in.

"It’s a piece of Americana that we’re keeping alive,” said Dorothea Mayes, Skyline Drive-In owner.

Skyline Drive-In’s been a staple in Shelton since 1964. It’s one of just five drive-in theaters left in the state.

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Mayes has owned the place since 2004.

“It’s a labor of love, it really is, and we’d love to be open,” said Mayes.

They’re losing money every day coronavirus keeps them closed.

Currently, they’re not scheduled to reopen until phase three of the state’s four-phase plan, which is when movie theaters reopen. Mayes said her 60-acre site is vastly different.

"Socially distancing is part of our unique business model,” she said. “We essentially are a takeout restaurant with a huge screen at the end of the field.”

This season, Mayes wants to show more than just movies.

"We’ve been the underdog for so long. It’s our time to shine, — they just need to let us open,” said Mayes.

For the first time ever, she’s getting requests to host graduations, church services, memorials and weddings. Mayes said the events would be safe and comply with social distancing.

Using Skyline’s screen and sound system, people could gather to celebrate while staying in their cars.

"It’s not that we’re going to make a ton of money, but we’re serving a population that, at this point, has nowhere to go and we’d love to have them,” said Mayes.

Skyline teamed up with the other Washington drive-ins to make an online petition. Friday afternoon it had more than 65,000 signatures.

Mayes hopes the petition gets the governor’s attention.

"We just want to be recognized as being unique. Not phase one or two or three, but phase now,” she said.

Skyline Drive-In Theater is typically open from late March to September, so they’ve already lost a month and a half of revenue.

They hope they’re allowed to reopen Friday ahead of Memorial Day weekend.