Gov. Mike DeWine’s Nov. 18 announcement of a 10 p.m. curfew may affect operations at North Ridgeville’s Aut-O-Rama Twin Drive-In Theatre, which had planned to stay open into December,
“The whole thing is kind of confusing,” said Tim Sherman, who runs the outdoor theater with his mother and brother Del. “Are we retail or are we takeout?”
The North Ridgeville drive-in, like others across the country, enjoyed increased attendance because many indoor theaters were closed, Aut-O-Rama co-owner Deb Sherman said earlier this month. DeWine’s curfew may throw off those plans, said Tim Sherman.
Tim Sherman believes the drive-in might qualify as a takeout because of its concession stand, where all food is to-go. If it is considered a retail establishment, the business would need to comply with the state-imposed 10 p.m. curfew.
Sherman said last week he hoped to obtain clarification from either the governor’s office or Lorain County Public Health. The curfew is in effect until Dec. 10.
The family intends to keep the drive-in open in the meantime. The Aut-O-Rama is in the process of replacing both of its 50-plus-year-old screens. The refurbishing of Screen 2 is complete. Work on Screen 1 is ongoing, but Sherman hopes to have the screen back in place around Thanksgiving or shortly afterward.
He said the work is weather dependent.
The Aut-O-Rama normally closes for the season in mid-October. Should it remain open into December and be subject to the curfew, movies will have earlier starting times, Sherman said.
The drive-in is showing films Friday through Sunday, but may add Wednesday nights if demand and the curfew allow it.
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