This week Disney will welcome its first guests back to one of its U.S. theme park resorts since closing them two months ago. But while some of the Disney Springs shopping area will be open for business, Disney also would like its guests to know that they're responsible to their own health while visiting.
Yesterday, in Here's What You Need to Know to Visit Disney Springs, we detailed the steps that Walt Disney World is taking to promote guest health and safety as it begins its phased reopening. But now Disney has added a disclaimer to its Disney Springs reopening information page, reminding visitors that Disney says it's not responsible if people do get sick. Here it is:
We have taken enhanced health and safety measures—for you, our other Guests, and Cast Members. You must follow all posted instructions while visiting Disney Springs.
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.
By visiting Disney Springs you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
Let's keep each other healthy and safe.
I'm not a lawyer, so this is not legal advice, but in general a company can't just completely dismiss its liability for something with a blanket disclaimer. If Disney were to fail to abide by its stated new rules, for example, it could expose itself to liability for an outbreak, despite its statement. And a disclaimer doesn't mean that a Covid-19 victim who felt that he or she caught the disease at Disney can't file a lawsuit and test that disclaimer in court. Plenty of people try to sue through disclaimers all the time.
But the legality of Disney's disclaimer might not be the big issue here. The big issue is the warning inherent within the disclaimer. Disney is reminding people that Covid-19 is real, it's contagious, and you're putting yourself at risk for contracting it whenever you leave your home - even if you're coming to a place that people generally consider safe, such as Disney.
We've talked about the risks of this coronavirus before, so I would encourage you to go read that post, if you haven't already. I have been in Southern California for the quarantine, so I'm not in position to visit Disney Springs this week. If I were in Orlando, I would feel safe walking around Disney Springs - with my mask on steering clear of others - picking up a mobile-order burger at D-Luxe or some chicken strips from Chicken Guy. But if I didn't cover theme parks for a living, I also suspect that visiting the Springs for a burger or fried chicken wouldn't be real high on my list of daily priorities, either. I'd rather hit up a neighborhood restaurant that needed my support first.
Still, Disney needs some guests coming onto property so that it can put its new procedures to test as it slowly ramps up toward full operation. If Disney's warning keeps sick fans at home - or even just keeps the number of healthy guests down to the point where social distancing becomes easy - well, that's a win for everyone right now.Tweet
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