Universal reopening plan approved by Orange County task force

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

We are closer to theme parks reopening in the state.

Universal Orlando rolled out its plan Thursday, and Orange County’s reopening task force agreed with it. But it must also be approved by the Orange County mayor and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

It includes temperature checks for employees, screenings and additional sanitation for guests.

We may be just two weeks away from hopping on roller coasters. We asked many of you online if you are ready to visit a theme park? And many told us yes, and that you’re more than willing to wear a mask to make theme parks work. But not everyone agrees.

Universal hopes to reopen to visitors the first week in June, which would make it the first of Central Florida’s major theme parks to do so.

“If you feel comfortable to go, go,” Kim McWilliams said. “If you don’t, don’t.”

“Coronavirus, it’s going to be around no matter what,” Larry McWilliams said. “So as long as everybody keeps doing their part, hopefully we can get back to some sort of normalcy.”

You will have to wear a mask, employees too.

“We don’t care about the mask,” Kathy Rinehart said. “We’re more than willing to wear a mask. It’s no problem.”

Online, many said wearing a mask in Florida heat is not appealing, and others say it’s too soon to reopen. And some say they’ll be back as soon as they can.

The park’s plans presented at a meeting Thursday showed visitors would need to have temperatures checked. If a temperature reads over 100.4 degrees, potential visitors will be asked not to enter the park.

“Wearing the mask and employees as well, why can’t a family go and enjoy a great weekend, a great trip?” Larry said. “Because of the masks, get a false sense of security. When without it, they might keep a safer distance.”

No more post-show meet and greets, and performers will stay on floats.

“I think it’s smart,” Karen Peters said. “Safety first before anything else that.”

Disney world’s officials have not confirmed when its parks will reopen. But both Disney Springs and Universal City Walk reopened shopping complexes and restaurants in the past week, with very similar restrictions. Sea World says its hopes to welcome guests in June.

And the days of crowded lines at theme parks might be over. Social distancing will be the rule.

“It’s going to be more fun for people instead of like standing in line for eight hours or whatever it is,” Peters said. “So, to me, it’s going to be better.”

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