A drive-in movie theatre on the Tsuut’ina Nation is ignoring AHS recommendations and opening anyway.
Alberta Health Services denied permission to drive-in movies opening this week, a regulation that included The Grey Eagle Drive-In on the Tsuut’ina Nation in Alberta. After being told that the outdoor film events could not take place, the nation’s chief and council decided to go forward with the drive-in movies, citing that the drive-in spectators will be safe, and the staff and organizers will follow Covid-19 safety precautions.
The Grey Eagle Drive-In is organized by The Event Group. The venue was planning to screen the 1987 film, Dirty Dancing on Friday night before the AHS stepped in and cancelled the showing due to restrictions on public gatherings. Regardless of the province’s suggestions, the group has decided to run the open-air film space tonight with a screening of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, many small businesses and Indigenous-owned venues and shops have suffered from shut-downs and restrictions. With more of the population vaccinated, many proprietors and councils feel it’s now time to get back to business.
The nation’s right to self-govern has allowed the chief and council to provide the drive-in with permission to resume activities. The Tsuut’ina National council says they have the authority to determine which activities do or do not take place on their lands. David Howard, president of The Event Group, says the performance is safe, with no risk to the audience, who will all stay isolated inside their vehicles throughout the film. Howard said, "Our team is grateful for the Tsuut’ina Nation giving us the approval to get back to showing films at the Grey Eagle Drive-In. We can ensure all our guests that the events will safely be presented and Covid protocols will be met.”
Interested movie-goers can catch a few other fun flicks during the month of May at the Grey Eagle, including Toy Story, Ghostbusters, Lilo & Stitch, Iron Man, The Breakfast Club, and Pitch Perfect.