Photography

Last night at the drive-in

The day before California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced orders for the state’s nearly 40 million residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus, Los Angeles moviegoers packed into their cars and pulled under the 75-foot movie screen at Paramount Drive In Theatres in Paramount, Calif.

The drive-in provided a safe haven for those eager to get out of the house while still practicing social distancing.

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Some curled up under blankets in their cars. Others ate popcorn as they watched the feature. Many were aware that this night at the movies would be their last for a while.

The Washington Post sent photographer duo Brinson+Banks to the theater to interview moviegoers and capture one last night at the drive-in.

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Shavonn Jones and Mycel Reddick of Compton.

for The Washington Post

for The Washington Post

“We haven’t been out, so we might as well go out and see a movie,” Reddick said. “Heard on the way here it might be the last night we can be out, so might as well enjoy it,” Jones added. As parting words, Reddick said, “If you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.”

for The Washington Post

Lauren O'Neill and Rusty Meadows of Los Angeles wait to see “Onward."

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

“We were on the fence about coming tonight,” O’Neill said. The couple, who both worked from home already, saw on Twitter that afternoon that the drive-in was open. “And I’m glad we did,” Meadows said.

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Robert and Elisa Pinedo of Long Beach wait to see “Bloodshot.”

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

“We’ve been bored, so we’ve been like ‘Let’s get out of the house,’ ” Robert Pinedo said. “Without jeopardizing anyone else,” added his wife, Elisa.

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

The food service facility sits nestled between two parking lots.

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Aracely Vargas, of Compton, stands behind the food service counter where she has worked for the past three years.

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

“I’m not concerned for me. You know how there’s people who have it and don’t know they have it?” Vargas asked. “I live with my sisters and my nephews and mom and she’s older, so I’m more concerned I’m bringing it home because she’s at risk.”

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Mikaela Vail, 18, Priya Sohal, 18, and Makenzie Eggum, 19, of Lakewood and Long Beach.

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

“There’s nothing else to do with the coronavirus, so we thought this would be fun,” Eggum said.

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Coby Dominus, left, and Caridad Cole wait to see “Bloodshot."

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

“The lockdown happens tonight, so this is our last night,” said Cole, an actress. Dominus, a writer who works in film development, said, “I go to the movies almost every day so I’ve been dying and turns out this is my last chance.”

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

From left, Sheila Robinson, her 8-year-old son, Cameron, and her wife, Nina Robinson, of Winnetka wait to see “Bloodshot."

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Nina Robinson, an intensive care unit nurse, continues to work while Sheila Robinson’s work as an actor has been curtailed by the coronavirus. It was second-grader Cameron Robinson’s first time at a drive-in theater. “[We are] trying to keep distance but to not go stir-crazy because he’s out of school,” Nina Robinson said.

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Kristen Psinakis and Eliana Roselli of North Hollywood wait to see “Onward.”

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

“It’s weird to see the scope of the impact [the virus has] had,” Psinakis said. “We’ve been doing okay. We’ve been self-quarantined at home since last week, so the new orders aren’t changing anything we’ve been doing. Being able to do this one last time is refreshing.”

Roommate Roselli added, “Anything safe out of the house is a good option.”

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post

Brinson+Banks For The Washington Post