Drive-in theaters expected to be star of the show during pandemic

MENDON, MASS. (WHDH) - One industry that is ready to reopen — drive-in movie theaters.

While there are only a few still around in Massachusetts, these relics of a former time are expected to be the hottest thing on the silver screen as people continue to practice social distancing and businesses reopen.

The big white movie screens in the middle of a rural Mendon field are now surrounded by fences, cones and spray paint.

“There are no guidelines – so we made up our own,” Dave Andelman of the Mendon Twin Drive-In said.

They have big plans to be the star of the show.

Its owners are pushing for drive-ins to be included among the first wave of businesses allowed to reopen in the state.

“Massachusetts needs to change the standard.,” Andelman said. “It should no longer be essential, it should be safe.”

7NEWS got a tour of all the safety measures in place beginning with buying tickets online to speed up the entry process.

Cylinders are placed in every other parking space to maintain safe social distancing between cars.

The lines for the concession stands are marked so customers know to keep 6 feet apart while waiting for snacks and picnic tables have been turned upside down preventing people from gathering.

We’ve been down long enough,” Andelman said. “We want to be safe, we want to be responsible.”

The owner of a drive-in in Wellfleet said that when they get the go-ahead, they will open at 50 percent capacity.

Scott Hayward, owner of the Tupelo Music Hall in New Hampshire is another venue looking to start things up again.

So far, they are unsure how they will go about hosting crowds safely but the town of Derry is allowing them the opportunity to reinvent themselves.

“For us – it means we get some income so that we don’t have to rely on government money, we get some income,” Hayward said. “I want to keep some employees, we get income to pay our bills.”


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