The new drive-in movie theater will offer free movies every Monday night this summer.

Ocean City has come up with a creative way to entertain visitors this summer. The town of Ocean City will be converting the parking lot at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center into a drive-in movie theater. Free movies will be shown every Monday at 8 p.m. beginning on June 15 and running through August 31, 2020. The town also plans to hold an independent film screening on one Tuesday of each month.

Even though Maryland has moved into stage two of the recovery plan, a lot of the businesses in Ocean City remain closed. Many of the restaurants and bars have adapted to offer outdoor dining, but the amusement parks, arcades, and other indoor amusement activities have not been allowed to open for the season. The regular calendar of events for the town also shows a lineup of cancellations and postponements. 

Ocean City drive in movies

Courtesy Town of Ocean City, Facebook

The town’s special events director, Frank Miller, came up with an idea to help offer fun and free events to visitors and residents.

“With the current concerns of coronavirus and the abundance of caution we are taking throughout the Town of Ocean City, this event seemed like a perfect fit for family fun as it provides entertainment while being mindful of physical distancing.”

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan lifted the restrictions on hotels and vacation rentals on May 14. Since then, the town has seen the crowds ebb and flow, with a healthy rise in room reservations. Hotels and restaurants are taking precautions like requiring masks, making hand sanitizer readily available, and cleaning rooms thoroughly after each guest. The Princess Royale Oceanfront Resort is placing stickers across the door to reassure guests.

Some business owners are displeased with Governor Larry Hogan at the pace of reopening. In a post on its Facebook page, the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association voiced frustration that nearby Fenwick Island has more to offer visitors.

“Just yesterday, our next-door neighbor, Fenwick Island, opened (with capacity limits) indoor dining, mini-golf, go-karts, casinos, gyms, wedding venues, and outdoor gatherings for up to 250 people. It is very difficult to watch revenue cross the street.”

In a press conference on June 3, Hogan said the state is making progress on testing, case reduction, and the rates of hospitalizations. He hopes the trend will continue and that some outdoor amusement and sporting facilities can open in late June.