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Drive-in theaters across the state reopen after being closed amid COVID-19

Narrow Gauge Cinema in Farmington opened its drive-in Thursday night with a sellout.

MAINE, USA — As businesses across the state start gearing up to reopen under Governor Mills reopening plan, one of the first forms of entertainment coming back is drive-in movie theaters. 

Multiple theaters across the state return to action this weekend. The first do so was Farmington's Narrow Gauge Cinema Drive-In. It opened Thursday night with a sold-out of showing of Call of the Wild. The drive-ins owner says community response to reopening has been strong. 

"We’re completely sold out for the first weekend. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday," said Narrow Gauge Cinema owner John Moore. 

Moore says he's excited to have business resume, as his traditional movie theater also named Narrow Gauge Cinema remains closed. 

"If we can give a person a night out to get away from this [pandemic], or a night of family time that’s not stuck in their home, that’s what we do, that’s what we’ve done for years and that’s gonna feel pretty good," said Moore. 

Narrow Gauge is one of four Maine drive-in theaters opening this weekend. 

According to social media pages, Bridgton Twin Drive-In and Bangor Drive-In in Hermon on Friday, and Westbrook's Prides Corner Drive-In on Saturday.

"A lot of new customers I believe will be frequenting the drive-in theater for the first time in their lives," said Prides Corner Drive-in Theater operator Jeff Tevanian. 

Tevanian hopes that with movie theaters remaining closed, more Mainers will take their movie going to the drive-in. 

Some changes will be in place however as drive-ins look to meet state and CDC guidelines for reopening. At Prides Corner, they're moving away from their traditional double features to allow for shorter stays, and less need for attendees to get out of their vehicles.

"Normally there’s an intermission and time to mingle around, so we just want to kind of eliminate that," said Tevanian. 

Similar changes are also in place Narrow Gauge. "We’re trying to be cautious especially where we’re opening right at the very beginning of this," said Moore. "We’ve reduced the capacity, we’ve closed concession stands this week, we’re just not doing it. That avoids a lot of the issues. Extra cleaning of the bathroom, those types of things. We’re trying to be very cautious.”

There will also be a change in what theaters are able to show. With new movie releases on hold, Prides Corner is opening up its season showing the timeless classic the Wizard of Oz. 

Over memorial day weekend, Narrow Gauge will also take a different approach, welcoming comedian Bob Marley. 


At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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