Walt Disney World Resort in Florida could reopen within weeks under guidelines recommended in the state of Florida.
The Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force — a committee launched by the county’s mayor to develop a phased approach to reopening the local economy — offered up initial recommendations.
The recommendations are as follows:
- In phase 1 of reopening, Disney World could operate at half capacity; in phase 2, at 75% capacity.
- Employees would wear face masks.
- Staff temperatures would be checked prior to their shifts; anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees would be sent home.
- Employees with flu-like symptoms would be required to stay home.
- Queues for rides and attractions would maintain social distancing with markers spaced 6 feet apart.
- Touchless hand sanitizer would be placed at all ticketing entry, turnstiles and each entry and exit for rides and attractions.
- Employees 65 and older would be encouraged to stay home in both phases 1 and 2.
- Railings and surfaces would be wiped down regularly.
The group also made recommendations for restaurants, hotels and retail establishments that would likely apply to Disney World. According to the task force, restaurants could operate at 50% capacity in phase 1 and 75% capacity in phase 2. Tables would need to be spaced at least 6 feet apart and employees would wear face masks and gloves. Staff temperature checks would be required. Menus would be disposable.
In hotels, there will be sneeze guards at check-in counters, mini-bars would not be stocked and coffee makers, coffee cups and glassware would be removed from guest rooms. Room keys and bell carts would be sanitized after each use. Swimming pools would be open.
At Disney’s retail locations, all entry doors would be open or automated and distancing markers would be placed at check-out counters. Employees will also wear face masks and undergo temperature checks.
While important, it’s also important to remember that all of these are suggestions. This is an advisory task force and it does not govern how Disney will get rolling again in Central Florida in the coming weeks or months.
In mid-March, both Disney World and Disneyland closed their gates to guests due to growing coronavirus concerns. In fact, all of the Disney theme parks around the world are currently closed due and more than 100,000 Disney employees, known as cast members, have been furloughed.
The reopening of Disney World will be challenging, imperfect, and ultimately awkward, but it seems sooner rather than later. The pandemic in central Florida is showing signs of easing. New cases in Orlando have declined for four consecutive weeks.
Time will tell how consumers react to a reopened Disney park before a coronavirus vaccine is widely available, but it’s clear that the company is hoping to reopen as soon as its safe enough, possibly (and perhaps, likely) as early as this summer.