Southington officials deciding on drive-in reopening

Southington officials deciding on drive-in reopening

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SOUTHINGTON — Town leaders could announce this week whether the drive-in will open.

Shane Lockwood, Plainville-Southington regional health district director, said he’s considering all options at the moment but plans on making a recommendation later this week. If Lockwood recommends the drive-in can open, he will also outline restrictions.  

There’s been no guidance from the state on drive-in movie theaters so it’s up to local authorities, Lockwood said.

“The status of the drive-in is currently under review,” he said Tuesday. “I expect to issue something soon.”

The drive-in is on town land on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike. Volunteers from local civic groups provide the volunteers to run weekend showings and some of the proceeds benefit those local groups.

Dawn Miceli, one of the four Southington Drive-In committee members, said she’s received lots of messages about reopening. She has to wait on approval from town leaders, though, unlike privately owned drive-in theaters.

“Everything is ready to go, but we’re waiting for the OK from the town of Southington,” said Miceli, a former town councilor. “We are thinking about how we would be able to open safely.”

Miceli submitted a plan to the town that outlined measures to keep movie-goers from coming into contact with other patrons. It included more space between cars, new traffic flows for the bathroom and reduced food options.

She’s hopeful the drive-in can reopen, both for the sake of residents and for the groups that run the showings.

“This is such a great fundraiser for all the civic groups and they’ve come to depend on that revenue stream,” she said.

The first showing of the season is traditionally “Jaws.” This year, the drive in was scheduled to open on June 6 but it’s uncertain if that’ll happen. Whenever it opens, Miceli said they won’t break the tradition of showing “Jaws” as the first movie.

Even if the drive-in opens, there won’t be the activities and picnicking that usually precede a showing. Miceli said even though the atmosphere will be different, she expects a big turnout.

“I think from the moment we’re open, we’re going to be packed,” she said. “People are looking for anything to bring their families to.”

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

"This is such a great fundraiser for all the civic groups and they’ve come to depend on that revenue stream."

-Dawn Miceli
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