Rich Howells

Garden Drive-In in Hunlock Creek opens May 15 with coronavirus safety measures

Garden Drive-In in Hunlock Creek opens May 15 with coronavirus safety measures
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While state guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19 have prevented nonessential businesses like movie theaters from reopening, the Circle Drive-In Theatre in Dickson City was able to let moviegoers in starting May 1 with coronavirus safety protocols in place.

This weekend, the Garden Drive-In in Hunlock Creek will follow suit with its own safety measures after delaying its planned opening in April and again last week.

On Friday, May 15 through Sunday, May 17, the outdoor theater will be showing the PG animated movie “Trolls World Tour” featuring the voices of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake at 8:30 p.m. and the PG-rated adventure film “The Call of the Wild” starring Harrison Ford at 10:15 p.m. on Screen 1. Screen 2 will run “The Invisible Man,” an R-rated horror film that offers a new take on the classic story with Elisabeth Moss, at 8:30 p.m. and the satirical horror thriller “The Hunt” starring Betty Gilpin at 10:45 p.m.

Gates open about two hours before showtime. Tickets, which can be purchased online at to guarantee entry, are $7 per person for the double feature on either screen; children ages 2 and under are free. Concessions can also be ordered online once patrons arrive; a text will be sent to pick up the order from an express pickup lane.

The theater has listed the rules for entry on its Facebook page:

For everyone’s safety:

  • A limited number of people will be allowed into the theater grounds in order to allow for social distancing.
  • Vehicles are required to be at least 6 feet apart. Viewing the movies must be from the confines of your vehicle, to include the bed of your truck. Until further notice, it is not allowed to sit outside your vehicle, on the ground or in a chair, or on the roof of a vehicle.
  • Masks are required when outside of a vehicle. We will be selling masks at the ticket box if you do not have one.
  • Drive-in staff will wear mask and gloves.
  • Concession food will be in protective packaging.
  • Regular sanitation of bathrooms and food preparation and pickup area.
  • There will be no entry inside the concession stand. All food orders will be picked up at the exterior of the concession stand at a designated doorway.
  • Portable toilets located by the concession stand and Screen 2 are provided. They will be sanitized throughout the night. The restrooms inside the concession stand are closed.

Let’s all work together to have an experience that is safe and enjoyable for everyone. Thank you for coming to the Garden Drive-In!

The Garden Drive-In (20 State Rt. 11, Hunlock Creek) typically holds 600 cars, but capacity will be much less for the time being. The theater’s flea market is also closed until further notice, as is the Circle Drive-In Flea Fair.

Nearly 60 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 and has yet to announce a reopening date.

“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.”