DROMANA Drive-In’s Paul Whitaker is on a Grand Final mission to convince the state government to allow him to run a live screening of the AFL’s biggest game of the year.
Permission would be manna from heaven – however unlikely – if his beloved Saints were one of the team’s playing.
“We hosted a successful live telecast of the St Kilda football match on 14 June, during stage two restrictions,” Mr Whitaker said.
“It was a fantastic night. Lots of people commented that it was like the old VFL days with cars parked around the oval, horns and lights flashing with every goal and behind.
“It was monitored by the Victoria Police COVID-19 squad from Frankston divisional headquarters.
“We had also completed negotiations for hosting the Melbourne Victory match on 16 July, but that was cancelled due to the introduction of stage three restrictions.”
Mr Whitaker said hosting the Grand Final was a unique opportunity to live telecast the match being played at The Gabba, in Brisbane, on all three screens to Victorians on Victorian soil.
“With the effects of stage four restrictions biting hard for many people, to be able to proceed with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would be priceless,” he said.
To get the nod, as things currently stand, Mr Whitaker would require an exemption for the evening of Saturday 24 October – two days before the current restrictions are expected to ease.
He said all tickets for the match would be issued electronically with a mandatory name, address, and phone number recorded for contact tracing purposes.
On arrival, the tickets would be scanned without contact. During the match people would stay in their cars and wear facemasks or facial covering.
The drive-in would provide food ordered through a smart phone app and delivered to cars in sealed paper bags.
Toilets would be open, with staff monitoring numbers. Hands would be sanitised upon entry and exit and the bathrooms regularly cleaned.
“If there is any way for this to proceed, it would be a huge social relief for the community,” Mr Whitaker said.