SW MI drive-in defies governor’s order, shows movies

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BATAVIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A drive-in movie theater near Coldwater opened Friday night against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay at home order. 

Hundreds of cars packed Capri Drive-In Theater for the first double feature of the season, which usually begins in mid-March but wasn’t allowed to open as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

After obeying the governor’s orders for the last two months, the theater’s owners decided to break the rules and get back to business. 

 “We’re not making any money,” co-owner Susan Magocs said. “We have a short season, so are we just going to keep extending this? We’ve got everything in place to be safe.” 

Magocs said they’re opening with new guidelines in place to ensure the safety of its patrons, only allowing people out of their cars to go to the bathroom and cutting capacity by 50%

As a drive-in theater, Magocs said it’s easy to keep people safe. 

“They’re in their car,” she said. “You never have to get out of your car if you don’t want, how safe is that?”

Whitmer disagreed, giving her reaction to news of businesses opening against her order during a press conference Friday afternoon.

“This is not a suggestion,” Whitmer said. “These are not thoughts about how you can protect yourself, this is the force of law and we expect people to follow the law.”

Magocs knows law enforcement can shut them down at any time, saying they recently received a letter from the county health department instructing them not to open. 

The owners said the sheriff’s office told them if they receive complaints about them being open, law enforcement will have to get involved. 

“We don’t want to cause trouble, we are just trying to make a living,” Magocs said. 

Many of those in attendance at Friday’s opening night can relate. 

“My husband has a business and we know that it’s hard for people right now. If we can get out and still be safe then why not do it and enjoy it,” said Stephanie Freiny. 

As cars waited in line for the gates to open, drivers didn’t seem worried about possible COVID-19 exposure. 

“This seems like a really safe situation,” Jennifer Shovels said. “There’s social distancing inside. Everything they’re doing really made us feel as a family safe to come out.”

The Capri Drive-In Theater plans to be open from here on out. More information about movie times and the special rules in effect due to COVID-19 can be found online

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