ORLANDO — There’s no reopening date yet for Florida’s biggest theme parks like Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld and Universal Orlando, but new recommended guidelines and mandates for post-COVID-19 operations could mean face masks for park employees, tape markings six feet apart in ride lineups and, at least in the early weeks, 50% capacity for park attendance.
All measures are on the table as Florida, one of the most visited destinations in the world, looks at ways to reopen for business in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. That includes its biggest attractions.
A virtual meeting of the Orange County Emergency Recovery Task Force yesterday outlined recommended guidelines and mandates for the early weeks of reopening post-COVID-19, for everything from restaurants to hotels to theme parks large and small. Thomas Mazloum from The Walt Disney Company, Brad Gilmour from SeaWorld and Richard Costales from Universal Orlando all took part on the call, along with reps from other industries as well as government representatives.
Here’s a look at the potential guidelines and mandates for large theme parks, according to the Orange County Emergency Recovery Task Force…
. Tape markings 6 feet apart in ride/attraction queues
. Staff to regularly wipe down surfaces at random
. Phase 1 and 2: Staff 65+ encouraged to stay home
. All employees required to wear face masks
. Touchless hand sanitizer at each ticketing entry and turnstiles
. Touchless hand sanitizer at each ride/attraction entry and exit
. Temperature checks for staff prior to shift (if temperature is above 100.4 degrees employee must not enter premises)
. All employees with flu-like symptoms advised to stay home
. Wipe down of all railings and surfaces after every use
. Phase 1: 50% capacity; Phase 2: 75% capacity
The logistics are incredibly daunting, what with wiping down surfaces after every use at extraordinarily busy theme parks, not to mention maintaining six feet social distancing in ride lineups and even more so, trying to limit capacity to 50% or 75% when so many park tickets are pre-purchased months in advance. But all options are open as Florida, like destinations around the world, begins to look at ways to kickstart the economy and reopen for business.
The theme parks shut down in mid-March, originally targeting a reopening date at the end of March but then announcing indefinite closures as the coronavirus pandemic took hold along with travel restrictions virtually worldwide.