Raimondo says No. Smithfield drive-in can open, with restrictions


NORTH SMITHFIELD – The details must still be hashed out, but Gov. Gina Raimondo has said that northern Rhode Island’s only drive-in theater will be allowed to open in 2020, even as much of the state remains closed.

The Rustic Drive-In is set to open in a few weeks, and owners are now working with state officials for a plan on how to run the facility’s concession stands, according to reports.

On Thursday, April 30, the theater announced the news on both social media and their iconic marquee changing the words, “closed for the season,” to “opening soon.”

“It does take some time to open safely and responsibly, but we wanted you all to know that we are doing everything in our power to get our beloved drive-in opened as soon as we safely can,” the business noted. “Stay safe and stay tuned.”

The announcement follows news that many other events and venues where Rhode Islanders normally gather, won’t be part of summer 2020. Raimondo announced Wednesday that large gatherings, including concerts and parades, won’t be allowed to take place this year.

The drive-in will have to cut capacity in half to maintain social distancing rules and keep cars spaced apart, according to reports. Currently, Rustic’s capacity is around 500 vehicles per night.

The drive-in is owned by the Your Neighborhood Theaters division of Belmont Capital.

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