McHenry Outdoor Drive-In Theater Set To Reopen May 8

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- I know we have heard it before, but this time it is true...

The McHenry Outdoor Drive-In Theater announced Sunday that they will reopen for the season on Friday, May 8, with new rules and regulations in place to follow the state's extended stay-at-home order. 

The drive-in theater made the announcement on Facebook, saying the opening weekend, May 8 and May 9, with be a "Prehistoric Weekend" in which the theater will play "The Flintstones" followed by "Jurassic Park."

"I am 99.9% sure that we will be opening with The Flintstones followed by Jurassic Park. I just need to get the physical confirmation tomorrow. Our gates will open this Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the latest. If vehicles waiting to gain entrance are lined up to the roads, I will have to open earlier. I would advise arriving no later than 7:00 p.m.," said Owner Scott Dehn.

Dehn took to Facebook with the announcement, expressing his gratitude to supporters.

"Good news! We have been given the green light to begin our season this upcoming Friday & Saturday, May 8th & 9th! There are countless individuals to thank, but it all begins with YOU. You came together as a single voice in an effort to help us open. Your efforts are a true testament as to what can be accomplished when people work together towards a common goal. Imagine if we all did that across all areas of our lives. You are all amazing. When things got tough, I found myself browsing through your comments on my Facebook posts. You never lost hope and your supportive comments gave me the inspiration to keep on trying. Thank you," Dehn said.

Dehn said he has "a lot of really cool and interesting surprises for you that I think you are going to enjoy. I am asking that you please bare with us in the beginning as my employees and I attempt to operate within the guidelines submitted to us by the DCEO. We will no doubt be making changes on the fly to better serve you while you visit. In the 70+ years that this theater has stood, it has never had to function during times like these. I can promise that we will all do our best and I will be closely monitoring everything from Box Office to the Concesssion Carts in an effort to finds ways to improve."

He noted that there will be several new rules and regulations the theater is taking, based on guidelines from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Among them, the theater will be limiting its capacity to 350 vehicles instead of the usual 750. Filmgoers must stay within their vehicle, though they may lay in the bed of a truck or van if wearing a face mask. No outdoor seating will allowed. If and when you do leave your vehicle, you must be wearing a face mask.

Check out the full list below:

  • Arrive early to ensure a parking spot. Our maximum capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic will only be 350 vehicles as opposed to the regular 750 vehicles. Our Box Office opens at approximately 6:30 p.m. during business days (Friday & Saturday only from Opening Weekend of May 8th & 9th) through Thursday, May 22 and 7 days/week beginning Friday, May 23).
  • You must stay within the confines of your vehicle as much as possible. You may lay in the bed of your truck or in the back of a van. You may NOT sit outside of your vehicle. If you choose to sit in the bed of your truck or in the back of your vehicle with your hatch open, you must be wearing a facemask.
  • Although we are adhering to a "Stay-In-Car Rule", we realize that you may need to use the restroom. If you are outside your vehicle, you MUST wear a facemask. If you would like one, please let us know.
  • You can purchase admission at our Box Office, however, ticket stubs will NOT be returned at Box Office in an effort to restrict any possibility of cross-contamination.
  • All employees have been educated and trained on the need for personal sanitation and hygiene as well as the sanitation of our facility. All employees must wash their hands at least every 15-20 minutes and must wear/change gloves and face masks frequently.
  • Only one vehicle will be allowed to park between two speaker poles. This will allow for a social distancing space of approximately 12’ to 16’.
  • We recommend bringing your own radio from home if you wish not to use your vehicle’s radio. We will NOT be renting radios for now and our speakers on the poles will not be turned on. This is all in an effort to eliminate the threat of contamination on items others will be using after you.
  • Our bathrooms in the concession stand will be open. There will be plenty of hand soap and sanitizer on hand. We have also provided protective toilet seat covers in each stall. We just ask that you dispose of the toilet seat covers in the small garbage can in each stall. Do NOT flush them down the toilet please. Every other stall will be closed so we can sanitize them. We will then open those stalls, close the others and, in turn, sterilize those as well. There will be markers on the floor to help with the 6’ of social distancing.
  • Our concession stand will be closed to the public. However, we will be offering freshly made Cheeseburgers, Hot Dogs, Popcorn, Jumbo Pretzels, and Nachos. We will also offer a variety of Candy and Bottled Beverages from a couple beverage/food/snack carts in the parking lot.
  • We are typically a “Pet Friendly Business”, however, due to the “Stay-Within-Your-Vehicle” rule, we cannot allow pets since they cannot be walked outside when needed.
  • There will be 2 exterior hand washing stations located near the concession stand/restrooms, if needed.
  • We are asking that, wherever possible, you please police yourselves when it comes to parking. We are not enforcing the traditional parking rules of large vehicles parking next to a red colored pole or small vehicles parking next to a silver colored pole. It is impossible for us to enforce considering that all vehicles will be parked in the middle of 2 speaker poles and not beside one. If you cannot see, there will be plenty of spots to move to considering that we are only utilizing less than half of our property by only allowing 350 vehicles admittance as opposed to the usual 750 vehicles.

The theater eventually hopes to operate seven days a week, beginning May 23, Dehn said.