Officers on Newry, Mourne and Down Council are to be asked to explore the options for bringing a drive-in cinema to the district.
Drive-in cinemas and other concert and theatre events which do not require people to leave their cars were permitted this week as part of the relaxation of lockdown restrictions.
Now the incoming chairperson of Newry Council Laura Devlin is asking the council to look at the possibility of opening a drive-in cinema for the public to enjoy at this time.
The SDLP councillor – who takes over the chairperson’s chain early next month – said: “There can be no doubt that we are living through some of the most unprecedented and life changing times in recent memory.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much of our everyday life and tragically hundreds of people have lost their lives to this invisible killer and my party colleagues and I extend our most heartfelt sympathies to the friends and relatives of those who have died.
“As we move forward and more restrictions ease, we as elected representatives must take the lead and explore how we can oﬀer opportunities for people to interact once more in a safe environment that adheres to the legalities of social distancing. One such measure that I would like to have explored is a drive-in cinema.
“This is something which we have seen from local community groups in our district before and is always a great evening.
“It will mean people can enjoy an evening together while still maintaining social distancing in the comfort of their own car.
“Therefore, I want to look at having pilot evening as I commence my year in oﬃce.
“We will then gauge the success of this – and indeed how it complements the legislation on social distancing and then hopefully be in a position to roll this out across the entire district over the course of the year in all of our towns.
“Already this idea has gained a lot of support from local constituents of mine which I think is a testament to the need that currently exists within all of us to connect and eventually interact with our family and friends once more.
“The test of how we unlock that however will be in how we can continue to adhere to the essential government guidelines on social distancing and ultimately defeating this disease.”
SDLP Council Group Leader Pete Byrne added, “As we enter this new era of great change in our lives, I look forward to working with Councillor Devlin as she settles into her role as chairperson.
“Laura has hit the ground running with an idea which will help bring the people of this district together as we remain apart.
“Drive-in cinemas have proved successful in the past and I hope there is cross-party support to help roll this out across the district.”