Entertainment

From Drive-In Theatres To Drive-In Drag Shows, The Coronavirus Is Forcing Us To Rethink Entertainment

Let’s face it: Coronavirus fatigue has definitely set in by now. We’re all looking for new ways to pass the time amid a global pandemic, while still remaining safe and responsible. Apparently Netflix and chill just isn’t cutting it any more.

But now is not the time to throw caution to the wind and start going out to bars and restaurants, even if our elected leaders are failing us by encouraging us to do just that.

Instead, grab your quarantine buddies/partners/kids/familia and hit a local drive-in theatre that has instituted Covid-19 measures. From New York to LA and everywhere in between, there are hundreds of drive-in entertainment venues that have popped up amid the pandemic.

Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback thanks to Coronavirus.

Credit: Marco Delgado / Getty Images

Fueled by the need to socially distance and the collective nostalgia for happier times, the comfort food of show business is providing a much-welcome way to consume live entertainment.

Outdoor drive-in theatres (among other forms of shows) have been popping up all over the U.S. – and world. In the era of Covid-19, many are clamoring for some form of entertainment and the drive-in theatre seems to be filling that need.

Local small business owners who have been forced to shut down operations to comply with Covid-19-related social distancing mandates have been reopening old drive-ins or building make-shift theaters in parking lots and showing old movies to customers to make up for lost income.

A giant drive-in theatre has popped up in the parking lot of a Queens, NY diner.

Credit: Jerome Strauss / Getty Images

New York’s Bel Aire Diner launched its drive-in theatre in May and it continues to sell out every night within minutes.

“The first time we put tickets up, which was for The Sandlot, tickets sold out in three minutes and there was over 500 attempts in those three minutes to buy tickets online,” Dellaportas told CNN Business on Friday.

Dellaportas said the Bel-Aire drive-in has become so popular, it’s allowed him to re-hire staff members he furloughed in March after government officials enacted shelter-in-place orders that decimated foot traffic at restaurants throughout New York City.

“Yesterday’s show sold out in under a minute, it was 815 spots,” he added.

In Miami, Carflix Cinemas sees shows sell out in minutes.

Credit: carflix_cinema / Instagram

Carflix Cinemas, which has its own 36 foot LED movie screen, partnered with an indoor amusement park to set up the massive drive-in theatre in the parking lot.

“As soon as the whole pandemic news started, we started trying to figure out what the future holds for us,” Bernal told CNN Business on Friday. “As we saw business declining, we started coming up with more ideas to generate revenue. This was one of the ideas presented by our staff, so we pursued it.”

The theatre is showing the original Jurassic Park and Sonic The Hedgehog to sold out crowds on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The parking lot they use fits 175 cars and customers desperate to get out of the house are buying up $30 tickets within hours of going on sale.

Meanwhile, in Mexico City, tickets to the Coyote AutoCinema are being resold for double their original cost.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Mexico City has long been home to the AutoCinema Coyote – it’s a perfect date spot perfectly modeled after 1950s Americana kitsch. Like it legit serves up hamburgers, hotdogs, milkshakes and curly fries. But it too had to shutdown thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic.

However, it reopened on June 3rd with special social-distancing measures in place. If you leave your car for any reason, you must wear a mask and capacity is limited to just 30%.

Also in Mexico, an Acapulco hotel announced that it would soon be home to the country’s largest drive-in theatre – with capacity for 300 cars. They’ll be hosting nightly events and will also screen a local film festival in the coming weeks.

And it’s not just movies – drag shows are also going drive-in.

Credit: Dreamland Theatre Las Vegas

Fierce favorites from RuPaul’s Drag Race, including Yvie Oddly, Aquaria, Asia O’Hara, Acid Betty, Gigi Goode, Monet X’ Change, Kameron Michaels, Kim Chi, Naomi Smalls, Plastique, Vanessa Vanjie and Violet Chachki—will be performing an outdoor summer concert called “Drive ‘N Drag.”

In cities from New York and LA to Chicago and Seattle, RuPaul’s Drag Race is bringing socially-distanced drag to the masses.

Apart from RuPaul alum, several drag communities are hosting their own drive-in drag shows: there’s “Drive-In Drag Show And Dinner Theatre” across the West Coast and “Drag Drive-In” in Nashville.

Even if they’re popular right now, don’t plan on drive-in shows to stick around for too long.

Credit: transitdrivein / Instagram

Although the drive-in seems to have made a come back and it’s proving successful, many owners say they’re not turning much of a profit. Operating a drive-in is expensive: permits, movie licensing, staffing. Therefore, many operators say they don’t see drive-ins being a long-term viable option, mainly because the Hollywood studios don’t care for them.

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Just After Congress Approves $600 Stimulus Checks, Trump Threatens To Veto The Bill

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Just After Congress Approves $600 Stimulus Checks, Trump Threatens To Veto The Bill

Pixabay

Updated: December 23, 2020

Just days after the U.S. Congress approved legislation that would send millions of Americans much-needed stimulus checks – even though they were only $600 – Donald Trump has thrown the entire plan into chaos.

Donald Trump threatens to veto historic spending bill.

Trump is holding a veto threat over recently passed, bipartisan legislation that was aimed at stimulating a suffering economy. Trump says that he wants lawmakers to boost the $600 direct payments to checks for $2,000 but his own party is basically united against increasing the size of checks.

Many point out that Trump is simply holding up the legislation, not for the stimulus checks, but because he objects to other parts of the law. Within the spending package, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle approved spending for arts and cultural programs as well as aide to developing countries across the world.

Original Story Published: December 18, 2020

So it looks like millions of Americans may end up getting that long overdue second stimulus check after all. So long as Congress doesn’t screw things up again.

As part of the latest round of negotiation between Democrats and Republicans, it looks a like a proposal for $600 direct payments is back on the table. However, $600 is literally half of the amount that was sent out to millions of Americans back in April and May.

A new stimulus package could include direct payments to millions of Americans.

Congressional leaders are considering a new deal to help stimulate the economy which has been battered by the Coronavirus pandemic. And although it appeared, as recently as last week, that a second stimulus check was off the table, that seems to have changed.

The new deal under consideration included new stimulus checks and enhanced federal unemployment benefits, according to reports by Politico. Even President Trump said in a TV interview over the weekend that he wants stimulus checks in the deal, saying he wants to “see checks—for more money than they’re talking about—going to people.”

Millions of workers aren’t getting any help from the largest emergency aid deal in US history.

The bill, known as the CARES Act, delivers direct payments to most taxpayers, vastly expands unemployment benefits, and makes testing for the virus free, among other provisions.

But although unauthorized immigrants are no more immune from the effects of the current crisis, the stimulus bill conspicuously leaves them out in the cold — potentially putting them at greater economic and health risk, and impeding public health efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

There are an estimated 10.7 million undocumented immigrants in the USA who are ineligible for emergency federal benefits or state unemployment insurance because they don’t have valid work authorization. 

That’s left an extra layer of anxiety for immigrants without legal status who have lost their jobs or seen work hours reduced amid the statewide shutdown of “nonessential” businesses. Many turned to local organizations for help to put food on the table and pay other expenses. 

Undocumented residents are already at greater risk of being affected by Covid-19 because of inadequate resources and access to health care.

The unauthorized worker population is particularly vulnerable to the virus due to inadequate access to health care. Noncitizens are significantly more likely to be uninsured compared to US citizens, which may dissuade them from seeking medical care if they contract the virus.

Compounding matters are the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies — including wide-scale immigration raids and a rule that can penalize green card applicants for using Medicaid — which have made noncitizens afraid to access care. These factors pose a problem for America’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus, which has killed more than 12,000 in the US as of April 7.

Where the government is failing, advocates and organizations are stepping up to help.

Some immigrant advocates lobby for the undocumented to be included by allowing payments to those who file taxes using individual tax identification numbers, which are often used by workers without legal immigration status. 

“They should include at least the individual taxpayers,” said Diana Mejia, founder of the Wind of the Spirit, an organization that helps immigrants in New Jersey’s Morris County.  “They are paying taxes,” she added in an interview with CNN.

Filers who use ITINs contribute about $11.74 billion in state and local taxes each year, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington think tank.

Aside from millions of undocumented migrants, millions of others are also being left out of the stimulus:

Credit: Department of Treasury

College Students and 17-Year-Olds: If someone else claims you as a dependent on their taxes, you won’t get your own check. Parents will get an extra $500 payment per child, but that’s only for kids under 17.

Most 17-year-olds, some young adults and many of the country’s roughly 20 million college students are claimed by their parents as dependents. They won’t get checks, and their parents won’t get an extra $500.

Disabled People: People who get disability benefits from the Social Security Administration or Veterans Affairs are eligible for the payments — but not disabled adults who are claimed as dependents by their parents or other relatives on their taxes

Seniors Who Live With Family: Senior citizens who are on Social Security or make less than the income cap are eligible. But the “dependent” rule applies to them, too. Some seniors who live with their adult children or other relatives are claimed by them as dependents on their taxes. Those seniors won’t get checks.

Immigrants are eligible for some free testing.

Credit: Pixabay

Here’s one thing the bill does offer to unauthorized immigrants: free coronavirus testing at government-funded community health centers through a $1 billion federal program. But some community health centers have already reported shortages of tests.

There is also a larger, state-level testing program funded through Medicaid, but that’s only available to Medicaid-eligible immigrants — green card holders who have lived in the US for at least five years, immigrants who come to the US on humanitarian grounds such as asylum, members of the military and their families, and, in certain states, children and pregnant women with lawful immigration status. Those groups, however, make up only a small proportion of immigrants living in the US. 

US Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that it won’t consider use of free testing services when evaluating whether immigrants will likely end up relying on public benefits under the “public charge” rule, which went into effect in February

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Thank You To All Of The Essential And Frontline Workers That Guided Us Through Covid This Year

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Thank You To All Of The Essential And Frontline Workers That Guided Us Through Covid This Year

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This has been a tough year for just about everyone. Covid-19 spread across the world forcing governments and businesses to shut down. Billions of people were forced to quarantine to stop the spread of the new virus that was infecting and killing millions. Yet, despite the ongoing pandemic, some people worked to keep the world moving forward.

Frontline and essential workers maintained the essential parts of society that keep life moving forward. They kept the grocery stores stocked and managed so we could eat. They filled prescriptions to make sure that no one had to go without their medication. They kept hospitals clean so nurses and doctors could do the work of saving lives from an unknown virus that was spreading through the country.

As the world hid, a brave few worked daily to keep us in our comforts and we owe them an immense debt of gratitude.

Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for putting yourself in harm’s way so we could survive. History will back at this time and remember the millions of people who we could not live without. They did what so many of us could not.

There was a palpable fear in the air in mid-March. Cases of an unknown virus were appearing everywhere in the world. Community spread was recorded as the virus arrived in new countries. It crossed borders with ease because of how connected the world is at this time. Borders were closed. Cities, states, and countries announced lockdown orders shuttering non-essential businesses to protect lives.

We were scared.

From that fear emerged the frontline and essential workers. Society had a chance to see the people that we need and who support us. Grocery store workers, farmworkers, pharmacists, nurses, and so many other people became our first line of defense. They braved the virus to protect us.

Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do. You are the reason we are anywhere near the other side of this pandemic. Your tireless work to maintain the flow of food, medicine, and paper products saved lives.

In thanks, mitú stands with the essential and frontline workers in urging our readers not to travel or gather this holiday season. After months of working non-stop during this pandemic, essential and frontline workers need us to stay home. They need us to do what we can to slow the spread during this second wave. By staying home, you keep them safe from potential exposures as cases continue to climb in the U.S.

We can make a big difference if we follow guidelines. We must keep practicing social distancing, wearing our masks, and listening to health care experts. Do it for the essential worker in your life. Do it for the real life heroes who continue to work as the pandemic rages on.

READ: 28-Year-Old Nurse Dies From COVID-19 Hours After Filming a Heartbreaking Video For His Family

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