At an April 12, 2020 briefing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) was reviewing the possibility of letting drive-in movie theaters open during the coronavirus epidemic. Such a move would involve making an exception to the regulation requiring the closure of all non-essential businesses in the state.
According to 13WHAM.com, the Governor said, “‘Where is the public safety issue? It’s a drive-in theater. You’re in the car with the same people.’”
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms agrees wholeheartedly with the Governor’s remarks. While we have nothing against drive-in movies, we have a different reason for wanting drive-in movie theaters to open: We want churches to rent and use them for Sunday services. In fact, we have previously written to the Governor to suggest that allowing services at drive-in theaters and large parking lots would give churches the opportunity to gather in one place while still practicing social distancing. (We have not yet received a reply.) If the Governor believes that drive-in movie theaters do not create a public health hazard, shouldn’t parking lot church services be allowed, too?
NYCF will continue to reach out to Gov. Cuomo and other government officials to push them to respect religious liberty by allowing drive-ins to open and by allowing parking lot church services. Our letter to ESDC is available here.