Policies for how Central Florida’s large and small attractions can reopen with the threat of COVID-19 still looming were discussed in a public meeting Tuesday. 

The Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force went over a variety of options businesses may be asked to follow once the statewide stay-at-home restriction is eased. This presentation included mandated and suggested policies specific to theme park industry.

The task force suggested the following policies be mandatory:

  • All employees required to wear facemasks.
  • Touchless hand sanitizer stations at park entrance and at every attraction entry and exit
  • Temperature checks for staff prior to shift (anyone with temperature above 100.4 degrees would not be allowed on premises)
  • Employees with flu-like symptoms advised to stay home
  • Wiping down all railings and surfaces after every use

The presentation also included possible guidelines that would be encouraged, but not mandated:

  • Using tape to mark six foot distances in queues to encourage social distancing 
  • Staff to regularly wipe down surfaces at random

Capacity at the parks may also be limited in different “phases” of reopening. In the initial reopening phase, attendance would be capped at 50 percent of a park’s capacity, increasing to 75 percent in the second phase. In both phases, the task force suggested any employees over the age of 65 be encouraged to stay at home. 

The recommendations echo some of the options floated in a recent Universal Orlando survey. 

While the presentation separated large parks like Universal, Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando from smaller attractions like Icon Park and Fun Spot America, the recommendations for both groups were identical. 

The task force did not discuss any timeline for entering these phased reopenings. Florida reported a new single-day high on with 83 COVID-19 deaths, with 83 on Tuesday. Even the University of Washington’s often-cited model — criticized for misleading public policymakers with overly optimistic projections — says relaxing social distancing policies in Florida may only be possible after June 21. 

Disney’s construction division lays off contractors

A construction subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, Buena Vista Construction Company, laid off the majority of its contractor workforce soon after Disney World closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

The workforce reduction was revealed in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice dated from March 24. 1,215 of the company’s 1,360 “non-employee project craftworkers,” including carpenters, electricians and painters, were laid off on March 15 — the last day Disney World parks were open.

The notice says that Disney “anticipates that most work will resume in less than six months.” 

The notice was first reported by the Orlando Business Journal.

RELATED STORIES:
LISTEN: Orlando Rising talks theme park journalism, COVID-19 on Kingdoms & Coasters podcast
SeaWorld approves $6.8 million in stock awards for execs during company-wide furloughs
REVIEW: Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.