Rich Howells

Circle Drive-In Theatre in Dickson City opens May 1 with coronavirus safety protocols

Circle Drive-In Theatre in Dickson City opens May 1 with coronavirus safety protocols
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Some people believe the concept of the drive-in theater is old and outdated, but during a pandemic that requires social distancing, there may be no better place to watch a film in public.

While indoor movie theaters across the country remain closed due to COVID-19, the Circle Drive-In Theatre in Dickson City is preparing to open this weekend with movies for kids and adults, as long as they take the proper precautions.

Extending its hours, the Circle Drive-In opens Friday, May 1 through Tuesday, May 5, showing the PG animated movie “Trolls World Tour” featuring the voices of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake on Screen 1 at 8:15 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. “The Invisible Man,” an R-rated horror film that offers a new take on the classic story with Elisabeth Moss, is running on Screen 2 at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Tickets are $5 each for children ages 3-11 and $8 each for adults 12 and up. The theater’s announcement last night lists the rules for entry:

We encourage purchasing tickets on our website. Please check our Facebook page and website for news and updates.

If you attend the drive-in, be advised that:

  • You must view the movie from within your vehicle.
  • You must wear a mask and practice social distancing.
  • Restrooms will be open, and masks are required to enter.
  • The concession stand is closed.

Circle Drive-In staff will adhere to CDC protocols, including pre-screening and temperature monitoring, mask requirements, social distancing, and strict disinfecting and cleaning procedures.

We wish to sincerely thank all our loyal customers for their continued support, and we look forward to better serving you in the near future when this present situation has passed.

The Circle Drive-In (1911 Scranton/Carbondale Hwy., Dickson City) has a 1,000 car capacity and typically shows movies on its main 5,000 square foot screen and adjacent smaller screen on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights from April through September, including double features.

The Flea Fair held on the lot almost every week is still closed until further notice. As the largest flea market and farmers market in Northeastern Pennsylvania, it usually hosts hundreds of vendors every Sunday from March through November, but the novel coronavirus has put the popular event on hold.

The Circle opened as a drive-in theater on Sept. 10, 1949, making it one of the longest-running drive-ins in the United States. Today, it uses digital projection and audio but maintains a classic feel with its old signage and fully stocked refreshment stand.

The Circle Drive-In also holds special events like the seasonal Circle of Screams haunted attraction, the NEPA Horror Film Festival, Cult Movie Club screenings, and themed movie nights in addition to parties, weddings, fundraisers, and occasional live music.

About 65 miles away, the Mahoning Drive-In Theater in Lehighton, which shows classic movies on the largest CinemaScope screen in Pennsylvania, postponed its planned opening on April 24-25.

“Some drive-ins and outdoor venues have adapted to host a variety ‘social distancing’ activities during the quarantine, and we are honored that so may of you have reached out to us about opening as hosts of similar activities ourselves. We have taken the stance that if it’s not safe to open for our season, it’s not safe to open for any other reason. We stand by the motion to stay home and stay safe because that helps us open safely sooner! In observance of state and federal directives, and our own sense of responsibility, we are postponing our opening weekend,” the Mahoning Drive-In crew posted on its website.

“We will release an alternative date as soon as possible. In the meantime, our crew is devising an action plan to ensure a safe moviegoing experience when it comes time to roll those reels! We will continue to update everyone as this all unfolds. Until then, stay home, stay safe.”

Photo by Rich Howells/NEPA Scene