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Porsches, Popcorn and Social Distancing at a Dubai Theater

2020-5-18

People in the Middle Eastern city of Dubai have been unhappy about the closure of movie theaters during the coronavirus crisis. But soon, they will be able to watch films from their own cars at a new drive-in theater. It was built on top of one of the world’s largest shopping malls.

Social distancing is a requirement in the United Arab Emirates, or UAE. The company operating the open-air theater, VOX Cinemas, said only two people in each car will be permitted. The theater can hold up to 75 cars.

The cost is $50 for each vehicle, which includes popcorn and other snacks as well as drinks.

People sit in their cars watching a movie in a drive-in cinema at the Mall of the Emirates, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, May 13, 2020. (REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)
People sit in their cars watching a movie in a drive-in cinema at the Mall of the Emirates, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, May 13, 2020. (REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)

Porsche driver Xavier Libbrecht told Reuters news agency, “We keep our social distancing,” so the drive-in cinema is a great idea. A Porsche is a very costly sports car. Libbrecht attended a special event at the drive-in movie theater held before it officially opened.

Dubai is the center of business and tourism in the United Arab Emirates. It has been easing coronavirus restrictions since the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began three weeks ago. But Dubai is now permitting malls and restaurants to reopen if they accept a limited number of people.

Children ages three to 12 and people over age 60 are still barred from these businesses, including the new cinema.

“Any excuse to get out [of] the house during coronavirus times,” said Patrick. He is a member of a Porsche car club invited to a recent event at the theater. He added that since movie-goers stay in their own cars, hearing others eating their snacks is not a problem.

At the theater launch, movie-goers enjoyed a cool evening breeze. But, they still turned their car engines on and off to get cooler air. Temperatures can rise above 40 degrees Celsius in Dubai during the summer months and the hot air can be oppressive.

Dubai is a place many people visit for its shopping and fun activities. But, it has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis because of travel restrictions and business closures.

The United Arab Emirates has recorded more than 20,386 coronavirus infections and about 206 deaths.

I’m Alice Bryant.

Reuters news agency reported this story. Alice Bryant adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

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Words in This Story

mall –n. a large building or group of buildings containing stores of many different kinds and sizes

cinema –n. a movie theater

snack –n. a small amount of food eaten between meals

tourism –n. the business of providing hotels, restaurants, entertainment and other things for people who are traveling

breeze –n. a gentle wind