Universal Orlando proposes June 1 as reopening date, with coronavirus precautions

Universal Orlando proposes June 1 as reopening date, with coronavirus precautions

Universal Orlando asked state and local officials in Florida Thursday to allow the theme park to reopen as soon as June 1, with precautions due to the coronavirus.

The economic recovery task force in Orange County, Florida, unanimously approved Universal's plan on Thursday. The plan must also be approved by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

If approved, Universal Orlando could be on the of the biggest theme parks in the country to reopen. Universal, Walt Disney World and SeaWorld in Florida have been closed since mid-March because of the global pandemic.

A reopened Universal will look very different for visitors and employees, according to a presentation made to the local economic recovery task force Thursday by company officials.

Upon arrival, valet parking will not be available, and cars will park one or two spaces apart. Visitors will receive a temperature check, and no one with a temperature above 100.4 degrees will be allowed to enter. Employees will also receive temperature checks.

Visitors and employees will be required to wear face coverings. Universal will provide disposable face masks for visitors who don't bring their own.

The park's capacity will be limited, said John Sprouls, chief administrative officer for Universal Studios, though he did not specify by how much.

"We’re going to ramp up very slowly," he told the economic recovery task force.

Sprouls said the interactive play areas at the park would remain closed, and the park would eliminate water and mist elements.

On rides, parties will be kept together, with no commingling, and attraction queues will be spaced out for social distancing.

Single-use paper menus will replace reusable ones in the park's restaurants. Mobile food ordering will be set up for all venues, Sprouls said. The park will offer contactless payment options, including Google Pay and Apple Pay, but will also accept cash.

Employees will be required to take regular hand-washing breaks, wear face masks and space themselves at least six feet apart. They will also be asked to monitor their temperatures at home.

Universal has installed signage at the entrances and throughout the park to let visitors know what's expected of them. Visitors will also receive a handout, available in English and other languages.

Universal's plan could be a model for other theme parks.

Neither Disney World nor SeaWorld have said when they will present their reopening plans to state and local officials.

On Wednesday, the Disney Springs retail and dining complex partially reopened with many of the elements of the Universal plan.

On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis anchored a roundtable in Orlando with business and tourism leaders, including executives from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld.

DeSantis announced last week that theme parks could begin submitting reopening plans as part of his phased-in plan to restart the state’s economy.

The city commission in Winter Haven, Florida, on Wednesday approved a plan to reopen the Legoland Florida theme park on June 1.

Legoland Florida will reopen at half capacity and will strongly encourage visitors to wear face coverings, but not require them.

Like Universal, Legoland guests will be checked for temperature and turned away if it's higher than 100.4 degrees.

Contributing: Kevin Bouffard, The Ledger

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/experience/america/theme-parks/2020/05/21/universal-orlando-opening-set-june-1-coronavirus-precautions/5229408002/

News Related

ORTHER NEWS

Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »