It looks like Admiral Twin Drive-in will be the first movie theater to reopen amid the pandemic in the Tulsa area, with outdoor screenings returning to the iconic location on May 15.
But even the reopening will be different for regular customers, owner Blake Smith said, due to health restrictions that have stopped other theaters from reopening on May 1, when cinemas were among the businesses approved to open back up. That is as long as a business practices social distancing, among other restrictions, Gov. Kevin Stitt said in his order.
“We need to get reopened, but we want people to feel safe, too,” Smith said as he addressed measures beyond what appears to be a natural social distancing of more than 6 feet between cars parked in place to watch movies at the drive-in.
The Admiral Twin will only screen single films on each side of the drive-in’s screen on Friday, May 15, and Saturday, May 16, and he said that opening on the Sunday that weekend is still to be determined.
“No double-features that weekend, which is what almost all other drive-ins (already open) are doing,” he said. “We need the social distancing, and with no double-feature there’s no intermission, which is when the bathroom really is the busiest.
“And the bathroom situation is the biggest concern right now.”
He also said there will likely be no concession stand open that first weekend, and that he’s considering the use of online ticket purchases for the first time, but both issues are still under consideration.
The drive-in was the last theater in Tulsa to close on the last weekend of March when Mayor G.T. Bynum issued a safer-at-home order.
Now the plan is to reopen May 15 with the animated movie “Trolls World Tour” on one side and the faith-based drama “I Still Believe” on the other side.
“We’ll know more in the coming weeks what we’ll do, and we’ll have to see if we plan to open up seven-days-a-week anytime soon,” Smith said.
“For right now, we’re just going to have to see how people feel about us opening back up. But we have had a lot of people asking when that will happen.”
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