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Drive-in venues forced to close under tier four following government 'mistake'

A government error is said to have led many venues to believe they can remain open

A mock-up drive-in based on a German version – the cars may be more spaced out than this in Enfield
© Rupert Oberhauser / Alamy

The Drive In venue in London has stated the UK government originally made an error in its tier four guidance, giving them the impression they could remain open.

In a statement issued on Christmas Eve, the north London spot, a lockdown favourite of many cinema and theatre fans watching live concerts or big-screen movies, claimed it was "heartbroken" to discover that the tier four guidance had initially been inaccurate and their plans to remain open were based on faulty information.

According to their release, a number of days after the original tier four guidance was unveiled the Drive-In was contacted to say that there had been a mistake in the tier criteria and, as a result, they should cease operations.

The organisation has promised to "continue to fight on behalf of all of us and to reopen as soon as possible".

There is certainly a degree of ambiguity over the rules – as per the Gov.uk website guidance released on 24 December, "outdoor entertainment venues, such as botanical gardens and heritage sites, may stay open", as can outdoor gyms.

You can read the full statement from the Drive In here:

This evening the government have informed us that last night's update to Tier 4 guidance, which stated that Drive Ins can stay open in Tier 4, was a mistake. We are utterly heartbroken therefore that whilst our films this evening will go ahead as planned, we will be closed from Saturday 26 December until further notice.

The rollercoaster the government have sent all of us on this week, and particularly in the past 24 hours, has been totally unacceptable. We are so sorry to have to do this, especially on Christmas Eve, but sadly the matter is outside of our control. We have lobbied adamantly to stay open, to save people's jobs, and to keep entertaining you, our audience, in a safe and secure way. We will continue to fight on behalf of all of us and to reopen as soon as possible.

If you have an upcoming film booking with us from 26th December onwards, you will automatically be refunded to your original payment method. You do not need to do anything. Please note due to the high number of bookings this may take several days to process and you may not receive your refund until after the date you were due to attend. We will be giving our team a well-deserved Christmas break over the next few days. We expect all refunds to have been processed by 8th January 2021 and appreciate your patience.

All live events have been postponed and customers with live event bookings will receive further information in due course.

We would also like to take this moment to once again thank our incredible staff, who have worked tirelessly to provide joy and Christmas cheer during these difficult times. And of course a huge thank you to you, our audiences - you make it all worth it!

We sincerely hope to welcome you to The Drive In soon and will post updates across our website and socials whenever we have further news. If you'd like to be notified about our reopening, you can join our mailing list at www.thedrivein.london

Until next time!

The Drive In team x