There is still no clear answer as to when traditional, indoor movie theaters can open or when movie studios will begin releasing new movies. But drive-in theaters in the area will open on May 15, when counties in Southwest Pennsylvania move into the "yellow" phase and begin partially reopening. At least initially, crowds at drive-ins could surge, as people are desperate to do anything that involves not being at home.
"I've never had to do this before in my life and I've been doing this my whole life," says Glaus.
At the beginning of May, Dependable was told it could soon open, along with other Pennsylvania drive-ins. The theater made the announcement on Facebook, but hours later had to retract as they were told by Gov. Tom Wolf's office that the statement about drive-ins being able to open was made in error. Dependable expressed disappointment at having sunk money into updating the theater for protections against the virus, only to have to wait longer to make the money back.
"[I]t is very hard to foot a large bill like that when there is no money coming in. Sadly, if this continues for much longer, especially with our newly added expenses, the drive-in may not survive much longer," said the Dependable Facebook post. After the Facebook post, a customer started a GoFundMe for Dependable, which has raised around $9,000.
Glaus thinks Dependable will be busy immediately upon reopening, but doesn't know what will happen in the long-run, especially because in difficult economic times, spending money on entertainment isn't a priority.
"I'm sure it's the same as any business, the movie business has its ups and downs. Three years ago, we had the worst year we could've had. The movies didn't work, the weather was bad," says Glaus. "[Last year], it was busy every night. It was probably one of the best. So you go from probably one of the best years you've ever had to absolutely the worst year you will have ever had."
To prepare for reopening, Riverside began doing takeout orders from the concession stand so they could test the online ordering system that will now be in place. He says the takeout service won't continue after they reopen, but it was a good way for loyal customers to support them.
It's not easy to keep a drive-in theater going in the best of times. But now, when everything is upside down, drive-ins have become the only way to watch movies outside of our homes. Glaus says Dependable has stuck around for so long not because it's financially rewarding, but because he's stuck with it through booming nights with beautiful weather and rainstorms with unpopular movies.
"I guess you could say I love it," says Glaus. "Or I don't have enough common sense to get out."