US Sees Revamp of Drive-In Movie Theaters

The GDX theater in Canton, Mich., during the premiere of Avengers: Endgame last April. COVID-19 has postponed the release of new movies around the country (Photo by Taylor Dietz).

Movie theaters across the state of Michigan have closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Albion’s Bohm Theatre. The Bohm was initially scheduled to reopen  earlier this week, but this plan of action is unlikely due to the extension of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. 

Bogar Theatre in Marshall was also closed due to COVID-19. According to their Facebook page, Bogar will be closed until further notice during the pandemic.

In addition to huge events being cancelled or rescheduled, anticipated movies like “A Quiet Place, Part II,” “F9,” and “Black Widow” have postponed their release dates. Because of travel restrictions and quarantine orders, production on movies and television shows have also stopped.

U.S. movie theaters aim for a late-summer blockbuster season, but because of the current state of the country, there are exact re-opening dates are uncertain. Avid moviegoers and others who enjoy the atmosphere of a theater most likely won’t be able to see a new movie any time soon.

While regular theaters are closed to the public, drive-in theaters around the country are pushing to open. They won’t be showing any of the new movies originally scheduled to release this summer, but showing old movies on the big screen gives families the ability to social distance and get out of the house.

Drive-in owners from Oregon and Pennsylvania have applied to be an exception from stay-at-home orders. The M-F Drive-In Theater in Oregon has planned  a movie showing with strict guidelines in order to maintain rules enforced by the state.

The guidelines include a limitation of 100 vehicles, which doesn’t even fill half of their capacity. Moviegoers are required to stay in their cars with limited bathroom use. Children are not allowed on the playgrounds, and inside facilities will be closed.

Drive-in Theaters have been doing more than showing movies during COVID-19. While churches were closed on Easter, the Capri Drive-in theater in Coldwater, Mich., and the Coldwater Ministerial Association held a unique Easter day church service. Other drive-ins around the country are also hosting church service and even high school graduations.

Most of Michigan’s drive-in theaters are open during the summer season only. They are currently still closed for the season but Coldwater’s Easter service could be the gateway to Michigan’s incoming drive-in theater season.

There were still strict quarantine rules for service attendees. People were not allowed out of their cars, and public bathrooms were closed.  According to CNYCENTRAL, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has considered opening drive-in movie theaters. Cuomo does not see a public safety issue because people will be in their cars with the same people with whom they have been quarantined. The article explains that drive-in owners are asking for drive-ins to be an exception to the state mandate.

New York has the nation’s most COVID-19 cases and deaths, but Cuomo’s decision to open New York’s drive-ins could affect Whitmer’s. The mentality of most wanting to open drive-ins seems to be that they are suited for social distancing.

About Taylor Dietz 12 Articles
Taylor Dietz is a senior from Saint Clair Shores, Michigan. She is majoring in English and minoring in German. Going up north is her favorite hobby and will never say no to a slice of pizza.

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