Stay-at-Home Order Scuttles Universal Orlando's Reopening Plans

April 1, 2020, 12:39 PM · Just in case anyone thought it might happen, the Universal Orlando Resort's plans to reopen on April 20 pretty much just disappeared.

Florida's governor has issued a 30-day "stay at home" order for the state, starting tomorrow at midnight. That order would preclude Universal Orlando from opening its theme parks during the month of April.

Last month, after initially announcing that its parks would close through the end of March, Universal extended the closure through April 19. Meanwhile, other theme park companies extended their planned temporary closures into mid-May, while Disney just stopped playing that game and declared that its parks would be closed until further notice.

No one who has been following this pandemic closely believed that Universal would be able to reopen its theme parks by mid-April. Especially not in Florida, where officials' refusal to move swiftly to order people to stay at home has primed the state to become a hotspot for an outbreak. Florida currently has the fifth-most cases in the United States and has been moving up that list rapidly.

As for Universal Studios Hollywood, California has been under an indefinite statewide stay at home order for two weeks now. We will update this post if we hear anything new from Universal.

Replies (6)

April 1, 2020 at 1:34 PM

Here in Orange county, we've had a stay at home order in place for almost a week, and even though there are less people on the road it's still surprisingly busy. The company I work for is a military supplier, so we are deemed 'essential'. Everyone is great at giving the 6ft space, so I feel safer at work than going to Publix. Of course that will all change if anyone here tests positive (300 employees).

It's been amazing to see how relatively quiet everywhere is with no tourists. I could get used to it ... :)

Even though predictions are that the virus will slow down with the heat and humidity of a Florida summer, my biggest concern will be when the tourists do eventually return. With that influx of 10's of thousands of people the last place I want to be is at a theme park. In other words when they open back up, I am not going to be waiting for rope drop on the first day.

April 1, 2020 at 1:43 PM

The only issue is I'm not sure that the statewide stay-at-home order would have made much of a difference early on. The majority of cases are in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, which have had stay-at-home orders in place already for a couple of weeks. Take those counties away and our infection rate is actually relatively good.

I think it's the right call to do the order now, but I'm not sure it would have made much of a difference if it had been done earlier. It's such a difficult situation to navigate.

April 1, 2020 at 3:46 PM

We’ve been on lockdown here for a week and a half. I’ve noticed that I’m now really uncomfortable going out (for those essential journeys only or my allowed exercise) anyone else starting to get that?

April 1, 2020 at 9:58 PM

I can't believe it took this long. Illinois closed down resturants/bars on March 16th (yes, a Chicago without places open on St. Patrick's Day) and stay-at-home on 20th. It was to end the 7th but now extended so can't believe Florida was doing a "county by county" thing after leaving beaches open at Spring Break.

I used to live there so I know how nuts the state can be but still....

April 1, 2020 at 9:59 PM

@Chad H: It depends where you are. In Chicago and north suburbs, it's tight and folks afraid. My town is 40 minutes south of the city and folks are going out on walks and biking with plenty of supplies in stores. And sure some small town in Kansas or Iowa isn't feeling more than annoyance and not getting how huge this is.

April 2, 2020 at 4:48 AM

Universal, You ain’t gonna open until Memorial Day weekend at the earliest

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