Golden Age Cinemas’ drive-in theatre in McHenry, Illinois will reopen for business May 8 and May 9. The first features planned are the animated film The Flintstones, followed by the action-adventure picture Jurassic Park. But, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the theatre will be operating under guidelines from the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. and customers are advised not to arrive later than 7:00 p.m.
The theatre will be limiting its capacity to 350 vehicles instead of the usual 750. Filmgoers must stay within their vehicle, though they may lie in the bed of a truck or van if wearing a facemask.
No outdoor seating will be allowed.
Only one vehicle will be allowed to park between two speaker poles, allowing for a distance of 12 to 16 feet. Pets will not be allowed.
Pole speakers will not be turned on, and the theater will not be renting radios.
Dehn recommended bringing a radio from home if the vehicle's radio is unsuitable.
Bathrooms will be open and subject to social distancing, but the concessions stand will be closed.
However, food and drink items will be available from carts in the parking lot. Customers using the services must wear a facemask.
Golden Age Cinema CEO Scott Dehn said, "In the 70-plus years that this theatre has stood it has never had to function during times like these. I can promise that we will all do our best and I will be closely monitoring everything from the box office to the concession carts in an effort to find ways to improve."
The theatre hopes to begin operating seven days a week, beginning May 23.
"You came together as a single voice in an effort to help us open," Dehn added in a Facebook message to his patrons. "Your efforts are a true testament as to what can be accomplished when people work together towards a common goal. Imagine if we all did that across all areas of our lives."