So you want a movie night, but need a break from your streaming services? Going to the theater is out of the question for a while, but soon, going out to see a movie isn’t. It’s thanks to a movie-going business model that is making the unlikeliest of comebacks: the drive-in movie.
This staple of 1950’s America were once found everywhere. Drive-ins were cheap, family-friendly and celebrated the country’s budding love affair with car ownership. But by the 1980s VCRs and changing tastes saw the number of drive-in theaters dwindle to almost existence. Now with “social distancing” being the order of the day, sitting in your car while still feeling as though you’re getting out the house seems like the perfect solution.
Enter the Aut-O-Rama. The only drive-in movie theater still in operation in Northeast Ohio, (the last Cleveland-area drive-in, Memphis Triple Drive-in, closed in 2006), this theater is located at 33395 Lorain Road, North Ridgeville, and has been operated by the same family since 1965.
Aut-O-Rama will open for business on May the 12, and while the movies haven’t yet been announced, family and retro classic are sure to be offered in the following weeks.
Of course, every re-opening business has new rules and requests to keep everyone healthy and safe. Here’s the listing of the latest polices, posted on the theater’s Facebook page this week:
New Drive-In policies
Please be patient with us as we learn new and innovative ways to serve you in a safe way. This is new for all of us, and we expect to make changes to our operations as we learn the best way to operate in these special circumstances. Safety of our patrons and staff is our number one priority. Anyone not following established safe policies set forth may be asked to leave the theatre without a refund. Due to the current circumstances, all policies may be changed or updated without notice.
• All recommended and required policies, directives, and orders from the Local and state health departments will be followed, as well as any CDC guidelines where applicable.
• 6 feet social distancing must be maintained at any time you are not in, on or within reach of your vehicle.
• If you or any person in your household is not feeling well, please remain home for the safety of everyone.
• Only persons from the same household may be in a vehicle together.
• Buses and any kind of large groups will not be permitted
• Gathering with other vehicles will not be permitted at this time
• Online presale tickets only, at this time.
• We will be operating at a reduced capacity to comply with and encourage social distancing requirements
• 1 car parked in the center between 2 poles only
• If leaving your vehicle, a face covering is highly encouraged
• In order to provide the option of a contactless experience we will be temporarily allowing outside food and beverage to be brought in. Please remember the concessions help up remain in business. By allowing outside food and beverage we will be able to social distance and keep everyone safe.
• Concessions will be open in a walk-up window style. Our patrons will not be permitted into the concession at this time.
• Refills of any kind are not permitted. Sorry no popcorn buckets, or Souvenir Cups.
• Online food ordering from your phone will also be available and payments can be made via your online order. There will be an order pick-up location provided. We will not be offering delivery to your car at this time.
• Contactless payments are now available at the concession. Apple Pay, Google Pay, and others
• To help protect our employees and the environment please don’t throw your trash on the ground. Remember, someone has to pick up all trash left behind. Preferably If possible, take it home with you and dispose of it there, or use the trash receptacles provided.
• 6 foot of Social distancing must be followed at the restrooms as well. Please don’t wait till intermission to use the restrooms. Using the restrooms throughout the movie will help keep lines from forming.
• Porta Pottys will also be on site to help with restroom lines and social distancing
Thank you for your co-operation and support of Aut-O-Rama!