West Wind Drive-In joins reopened businesses, diners enjoy eating at Camino Real
Any question whether the West Wind Drive-In in Goleta would reopen was laid to rest on Memorial Day when the outdoor theater started showing movies again.
It was one more sign of local efforts toward better times for the economy.
According to the West Wind website, its Goleta location started back up Monday with a Harry Potter double feature, showing “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” followed by “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” The drive-in repeated the same double feature Tuesday night.
To promote safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the drive-in operated under strict rules.
As listed in a post on the theater’s Facebook page, these included requirements that guests wear a face covering when leaving their cars and that they stay in their cars at all times except for going to the restroom. Rules also ensure that no more than two people are in the restroom at the same time, with exceptions made for children accompanied by their parents.
Vehicles must also be parked within 10 feet of each other.
The drive-in’s reopening is a major addition to the recent push toward restarting the local economy.
Many Santa Barbara area restaurants reopened last week and are now allowing outdoor dining. They’ve expanded their patios since blocks of State Street were closed off to traffic, effectively turning the street into a promenade.
At Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta, the News-Press ran into several Goleta and Santa Barbara residents enjoying meals on the patios of the shopping center’s restaurants and asked them how it feels to be a step closer to normalcy.
As he was enjoying a meal from On the Alley, one man who just gave his first name, Alan, was very happy to be out eating and remarked that he himself is “not concerned about the virus at this point.” However, he did say that social distancing and wearing face coverings are courtesies that should continue for the sake of those who are more worried about the virus.
“We think it’s really important to maintain distance at close quarters and wear masks just to be respectful of others,” he said.
Santa Barbara resident Denise Lumiere said she “feels great” being able to go to restaurants for outdoor dining and appreciates that businesses are starting to reopen. That said, she believes precautions like social distancing should continue to be observed and that people shouldn’t become careless as the economy gets restarted.
“I feel good about it, and I’m hoping that people don’t take too many risks and start spreading it,” she said.
However, some diners on the patios of Camino Real restaurants were present despite feeling a great deal of anxiety about being among other people. As she and her husband were having lunch at Natural Café, Goleta resident Rachel Quittner admitted that she is “still uncomfortable” going to restaurants with crowds. She explained that she and her husband only sat down to a meal because the patio wasn’t crowded when they arrived.
Goleta resident and Natural Café patron Heather Power felt similarly, but not quite as nervous. She said she feels comfortable being out and about “as long as people are continuing to social distance and be smart about it.”
She added, “I would not have come here today if people were not social distancing.”