The Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force today approved Universal Orlando's proposal to reopen its theme parks to the public on June 5. No members of the task force opposed the plan, though representatives from Walt Disney World and SeaWorld abstained due to conflict of interest regulations.
John Sprouls, Chief Administrative Officer for Universal Orlando, presented the resort's plan to the Recovery Task Force in an online meeting this afternoon. Under Universal's proposal, which also must be approved by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the parks would reopen to team members on June 1 for testing of new health and sanitation procedures, with invited guests such as annual passholders returning on June 3-4. Team members would begin training on these new procedures this weekend, Sprouls said.
Guests will be required to undergo temperature checks and to wear masks while visiting, with Universal providing free masks for people who do not bring their own. Valet parking will not be available and self-parking will be staggered so that there will be one or two empty spaces between each car.
Inside the parks, capacity will be "managed" in order to manage social distancing, with an attendance maximum for the park and for individual attractions and locations within the parks. Universal has marked its queues to maintain at least six feet of distance between parties, including side-by-side space as well as front-and-back spacing.
Interactive play areas will be closed and most water and mist elements in attractions will be eliminated in order to reduce opportunities to transmit the virus. On 3D attractions, team members will hand out glasses individually rather than allow guests to pick them up from bins.
Virtual line technology will be expanded to more attractions in Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, and single rider lines will be eliminated. Parties will be kept together, but no separate parties will be sat together on rides. There will be no post-show character meet and greets nor will parades run.
All restaurant menus will be on paper and single use, with mobile ordering set up for all venues. There will be no self-service of food or beverages. Contactless payments also will be supported, with Google Pay, Apple Pay, and through the Universal Orlando app.
Volcano Bay would reopen as well, with enhanced cleaning of ride vehicles, rafts, and life vests. The number of tubes in the lazy river will be reduced to promote social distancing. Lounge chairs also will be spaced in clusters to keep parties at least six feet apart and separate parties will not be placed together on raft slides.
Universal representatives provided no additional details on the percentage of capacity under which it would operate, beyond to say that the resort would look to increase that percentage over time. Nor did Universal announce a targeted reopening date for its hotels.Tweet
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