July 1, 2021
Since Maryland’s COVID-19 State of Emergency has ended, effective July 1, 2021, the Bengies Drive-In Theatre no longer requires fully vaccinated patrons and crew members to wear face coverings in the theatre. Face coverings continue to be strongly recommended for patrons and crew members who are NOT fully vaccinated, particularly in restrooms and the snack bar.
We want to remind everyone that our concern is for children under the age of 11. These children cannot get vaccinated, so it is with that thought in mind we say, BE HONEST; if you are not vaccinated, WEAR A MASK! (or just do not attend.)
May 27, 2020
Thank you all for your support! Now that we know we can reopen we will be busy getting everything in order to open, such as booking movies, staffing, and ordering supplies. We are very excited to get our 65th Season under way! As soon as we have all of the pieces in place we will announce the opening date.
(It will NOT be this weekend, May 29 – 31)
May 25, 2020
D Vogel, Owner of Bengies was interviewed by WMAR Channel 2 News
‘I don’t understand it’: Owner of Bengies Drive-In Theatre says state won’t let him open, on brink of closing for good
May 24, 2020
Drive-In movie theatres are open in our surrounding states and in states across they county. Leaders in those states can differentiate between a drive-in movie theatre and an indoor movie theatre. Why won’t the State of Maryland?
D. Vogel, Owner of the Bengies was interviewed by Fox D.C.
Maryland’s only drive-in theater still not allowed to reopen
May 22, 2020
The Bengies Drive-In Theatre is not permitted to open.
The Reason? Incredibly odd.
The first thing to know about this, is our County Executive, The Honorable John Olszewski, Jr. and all of his staff, worked diligently AND tremendously hard to get the Bengies Drive-In Theatre Open, BUT were thwarted at the state level. They are still trying. To thank The Honorable John A. Olszewski, Jr., County Executive, please visit one of the following links:
We do not understand WHY THE STATE is taking a position to keep us closed.
Baltimore County Government was told by the State of Maryland, because the Governor’s order said movie theatres are closed, it made NO DIFFERENCE that we were an outdoor venue! The County Executive’s office received a reply from the Governor’s office, that THWARTS Baltimore County’s Authority by saying The Bengies Drive-In Theatre IS THE SAME AS AN INDOOR THEATRE, because of a tax!
“… since Bengies is subject to the amusement tax, the governor’s orders are very clear that they cannot operate at this time. There is no gray area within which local government could provide authorization to commence operations. Senior staff is aware of your views and will take them into account as the re-opening process moves forward. ”
My PUBLIC EXHIBITION LICENSE states that I am licensed for a DRIVE-IN THEATRE, as in OUTDOOR EXHIBITION. The State refuses to acknowledge us as a separate venue to keep Baltimore County from allowing us to open! POLITICS ! Governor Hogan, at his reopening announcement.. said, the LOCAL authorities CAN decide but here they have stopped local Government from doing that.
He CLEARLY Said, “everything is better in the outdoors!”
BUT HERE WE ARE! OUTDOORS and CLOSED.
I have to believe this is Politics at its worse.
Our Local Representatives are advocating for SAFE openings in LOGICAL ways:
Senator J.B. Jennings is advocating our Opening. Click Here to see the letter he sent on our Behalf. He points out all surrounding Drive-In Theatres are OPEN. I want to point out that 99 percent of the drive-in theatres in America ARE OPEN and specifically for the same reasons are better protected from the virus and for mental health reasons! THIS IS ONE OF THE ONLY PLACES A PERSON WHO IS VULNERABLE TO THE VIRUS CAN COME, practice distance and be reasonably safe! Please encourage him by contacting him via:
Delegate Kathy Szeliga is also advocating the safe opening of businesses and has sent a message to the Governor concerning The Bengies and other businesses that are being put into the wrong “barrel” for opening BECAUSE of a TAX. Letters were sent to Governor Hogan. You can thank and encourage her by these links:
SOME AT THE STATE LEVEL are HONEST about the opening. Our Wonderful “WATCHDOG” the Honorable Peter Franchot, Maryland Comptroller, is also on board with the Bengies Opening! He now advocating for other small businesses as well. Please encourage him by contacting him via:
Today’s (May 22, 2020) Baltimore Sun Article by John John Williams
Drive-in theaters have seen a resurgence during the coronavirus. In Baltimore County, Bengies remains closed.
Reporter: John John Williams
May 14, 2020
To update everyone on our status, we are still NOT permitted to open even though the state has lifted the stay at home order and is entering phase 1 of reopening. We hope State and Local leadership will take into account our unique venue when deciding what businesses may reopen moving forward. We will make the necessary operating adjustments to keep our patrons and staff safe at the theatre. Our new operating procedures will be posted once we have the okay to reopen.
April 25, 2020
We are receiving many requests to rent the theatre at this time. We can not rent the theatre while the stay at home order is in place, nor do we think it is a good idea. If you are interested in renting the theatre please fill out this FORM, it will be challenging to commit to an exact date this time. Late June would be a good starting point. Once we are allowed to reopen, and we know what our occupancy restrictions are, if any, we will discuss your event further.
April 3, 2020
The Bengies Drive-In Theatre did ask for permission to host worship services early on, weeks ago, before the stay at home orders were issued, the State of Maryland declined us. However, in light of the announcement permitting worshipers to drive-in services, The Voice and the management agree, we do not wish to hold such services at the Bengies Drive-In Theatre for the following reasons: Any religious entity may hold their services on their parking lot, or any sizable parking lot. They do not need to use this facility. Our position is, if we partake in allowing services here, we are enticing people to leave their homes. We DO NOT discourage any person from seeking spiritual comfort and encourage them to do so in the ways they feel safe. We do not want to be part and party in encouraging anyone out of their house because that is the safest place to be. Further, the more folks move about, the more the danger exists. This is clear from every health official, medical professional, and scientist we see and hear from daily. On this matter, we encourage all to follow Your heart, as we are doing at the Bengies Drive-In Theatre.
Our observations are amazingly seeing a lot of folks “skirting” the orders. Where we will not call these folks out by name, we would like to see our state differentiate between what is essential and what is not, we hope they can read between the lines if they see this message, because the only replies we get are auto-responses, so no one is reading the emails. If you spot something you think is unnecessary, we encourage you to report it, even though it is our experience that it all falls on deaf ears.
We wish you health and safety. Our advice, check out what’s on the marquee at our website, cover face when you must go out, and remember there are two sides to that cover, so careful when you take it off! We hope you all mostly, STAY HOME.
March 16, 2020
Governor Hogan issuesd an Executive order to shut down all bars, restaurants, movie theaters, & gyms until further notice.
March 14, 2020
Dear Great Patrons of the Bengies Drive-In Theatre,
We are all aware of the incredible amount of information evolving regarding the corona-virus outbreak. The Bengies Drive-in Theatre wanted you all to know we were readying to open next week on the 20th, we must wait a bit longer to weigh out the situation and decide how to stay within the guidelines and procedures issued rightfully by our Governor, Larry Hogan, and our local health authorities.
I hope we are all understanding how much we all need to co-operate and abide within the guidelines. As of today, we do not have the answers we need and are hopeful to gain these early next week, to plan for an opening by April 3.
As the order now states in general, “no gatherings of more than 250 people in any venue…” we are unsure about how and if we can proceed and stay in the guidelines, or if our unique venue was not taken into account. Consider our patrons arrive in vehicles AND have their own seating. If we stuck to 250 people, we would quickly sell out. With our average per car, 250 people represents about 94 cars. So we could “control” that by either doing on line ticketing and cutting it off at 250, OR or simply let about 94 vehicles into the theatre and count heads on the way in. Sure we may be able to find a way to do that but could we survive business-wise with constantly low attendance? The simple answer is most likely “NO.” We have adequate space to allow for social distancing. It is unusual for people to be within an arm’s length of another person* like at a stadium or parade. We would not be able to survive as a business with cap of 250 people attending per night. (* – Something used in other state’s description of distance)
This is not to declare outside is completely safe, only that more distancing is available. It seems there needs to be an allowance for number of people outside per square area, or SOME CONSIDERATION. Our Parking area is about 9 acres of the 11 acres The Bengies occupies.
We are certainly “pulling” for our indoor theatres, and actually, I could see a way for an indoor theatre to operate, because they have multiple screens. If they could keep the lobby area to a maximum of 250 people, and each auditorium to 250 or less, stagger the showtimes to assist, and keep the audience at certain distances by roping off seats, then perhaps they can remain open and we hope they do.
It is a bit more complicated for us outdoor venues. The 3 of us (Ken, Sean and I) can see that in many ways, it may be safer to attend in this setting because our patrons arrive in the “seats” they will use, they are with folks they know and stay in contact with. They can bring in food by following our policies if they wish to avoid the snack bar.
The only risk is the bathroom IF all wait till intermission to use it, BUT even that can be controlled by using a method of only “X” amount in at a time, and then as one comes out, the next goes in! And even at that, the restrictions given do not address how many people can be in gathering based on number of restrooms.
We can place controls and reminders for public health safety.
– We could “stagger” the concession line in a way where we endeavor to keep folks at least 6 feet apart by using a single line controlled at the entrance of snack bar side doors (not really sure if that is necessary, because we think we could be in compliance by simply limiting the amount of folks in the snack bar to 250 or less.) Our idea was to try to remind folks to keep a distance from each other. We could easily slip a member of our staff into the line repeatedly so that we can keep the countertops, handles and areas touched sanitized, and so on.
– We could place reminders at the rest room doors for folks to try to keep a distance between each other, and we WOULD be in and out sanitizing hard surfaces and handles as necessary.
– We would encourage folks to stay in the vehicle, AND not DO THE OUTSIDE “SPREAD” near your vehicle, OR we could rope off spaces for distancing cars and spaces (However, that would mean less spaces overall and again limit our ability for income. BUT it can be done.)
– And of course we AND our patrons could assist in keeping all this cooperative.
So right now, we are trying to “figure this out!” Ken has POSTED on Facebook and we sure could use your feedback, and honest feed back at that. You, our wonderful patrons may have ideas that have not yet crossed our minds, both to the good, or bad or unseen. If you wish to send us an email, use this link to Contact Us.
We encourage input from you, through Facebook, twitter, and our email system at the web site.