Heard on Sundial: Drive-in Theaters Return, WLRN's New Health Care Reporter, LatAm & COVID-19

Jun 9, 2020

On this Tuesday, June 9, episode of Sundial:

Drive-in Theaters Make A Comeback

Movie theaters are now allowed to reopen across the state — but not in most parts of South Florida. In Broward, they are set to reopen June 15. Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties haven’t announced any plans to reopen movie theaters yet. 

Traditional movie theaters are struggling to survive. CMX Cinemas in Miami-Dade filed for bankruptcy because of the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, and many worry people will not feel comfortable visiting movie theaters even when they do reopen.

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Drive-in theaters have emerged as the safe alternative, and quite a few have popped up across South Florida counties. Dezerland Park in North Miami features weekly film showings, and was started by Carflix Cinema — a drive-in experience which began because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival also began to host drive-ins and continues to do so. 

"We wanted to recreate that experience you get with a crowd," said Gregory Von Hausch, the festival's president and CEO. "And having everybody in their homes watching in their sets or computer just doesn't do it. So we thought the drive-in would be perfect."

We spoke with Von Hausch and Daniel Pereira, executive producer of AVER productions which partnered up with Dezerland Park in creating Carflix Cinema. They discussed the feedback they’ve received, and what the future of movie theaters could look like.

WLRN’s New Health Care Reporter 

South Florida continues slowly reopening to public life. Gyms reopened in Miami-Dade on Monday and beaches will reopen tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, the rest of the state enters phase two of Governor Ron DeSantis' reopening plan. That includes bars, movie theaters and bowling alleys — they are open for business at a limited capacity.

One of the key data points the governor and county leaders have been using to justify the reopening is the COVID positivity rate. Currently, Florida has a positivity rate of 5.2 percent.

"What a low positivity rate like Florida’s might indicate is that the state is doing sufficient testing for the size of the outbreak,' said Veronica Zaragovia, WLRN's new new health care reporter. "But there are a lot of things that public health experts say is not clear in the data."

We spoke with Zaragovia about growing up in Miami, her reporting in Europe and Latin America and the stories she’s following.

COVID-19's New Epicenter? Latin America

Brazil has become the new epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, it now has the second-largest number of cases around the globe. And those numbers are likely being undercounted. 

After facing sharp criticism, the country stopped publishing the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths on Saturday. How the epidemic is impacting Latin America differs greatly from country to country. It’s based on the country’s political leadership and their response. 

"The northern tier of the world faced the first onslaught of this," said WLRN’s Americas editor Tim Padgett. "Now it’s more of the southern part of the world that scientists see getting the brunt of this and Latin America has just had a lot of factors that have come together to make it the epicenter."

We spoke with Padgett about expats bringing relief to their home countries in Latin America, which has become the new epicenter of the pandemic, just as their economy begins to reopen.