CARTHAGE, Mo- You’ve heard of getting your kicks on Route 66, but what about getting your FLICKS there too?
With traditional movie theaters still closed during phase one of Missouri’s reopening plan, drive-in theaters are hoping to provide another way to get out of the house with the family. So far, however, it’s been a bit of a struggle for this rarer movie-going industry.
Nathan McDonald, Owner of the Route 66 Drive-in Theatre, says COVID-19 has pushed back their opening date by two months.
“This year we would’ve opened on March 20th, we usually open on the last weekend in March,” says McDonald. The theatre has been opening around the same time for 70 years.
“We only run for six months. We’re usually a quarter into our season by now,” he says.
McDonald says he and his theater decided to stay closed until the statewide stay-at-home order was lifted. Now it is lifted, and they are opening with several safety guidelines.
Here is what you can expect going to the Route 66 Drive-in Theatre:
- Every other parking spot is blocked
- Playground closed
- Only four customers max in the concession building
- Employees will be wearing masks and gloves
- Distancing markers in the concession building
- Bathrooms cleaned every 15 minutes
- To get your tickets, you have to physically get out of your car and pay at the ticket booth
Since the theatre is having to block every other parking spot, they will not be at full capacity, which is around 430 cars. Poles separate the parking spots for the cars with 10 feet between them.
As far as what movies you will see, McDonald says that will be determined every week since Hollywood isn’t releasing films right now.
“We’re just going to have throwbacks or maybe movies that came out back in 2018 or 2019 that were a hot item until we get something new. It’s going to be an interesting start,” says McDonald.
With this being opening weekend, McDonald is asking movie-goers to be patient as the staff works out all the new requirements.
There is another drive-in theater in Southwest Missouri in Aurora. According to a Facebook post by the Sunset Drive-in Theater, they are also planning on opening this weekend with new guidelines.
“The drive-in to me is the entryway to summer, so having it open gives people a little sense of normalcy as we try to go back to the way life used to be,” says McDonald.