As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis leads a Re-Open Florida Task Force and says the state is seeing a flattening of the coronavirus curve, buzz about seeing popular businesses and attractions opening is alive.
One nonessential business that has Floridians itching about its possible reopening is Walt Disney World. But what would a reopened Disney look like post-coronavirus?
Disney parks in the United States, Disney World and Disneyland, are still closed indefinitely and have no set reopening date. Disney recently furloughed 100,000 theme park and hotel workers amid the coronavirus shutdown, NBC News reported.
In order to get an idea of what Disney’s American theme parks might look like after their historic closure, one has to look overseas to Shanghai Disneyland Resort in China.
China, where the novel coronavirus originated, was hit hard by COVID-19, the highly contagious disease it causes. Mainland China has seen 88,582 cases and 4,632 deaths, according to The New York Times. Despite being the origin of the virus, the country is on a road to recovery with 77,861 people having recovered from it, Johns Hopkins University data shows.
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This recovery led to the Walt Disney Company reopening parts of Shanghai Disneyland. On March 9, it reopened limited shopping, dining and recreational experiences in Disneytown, Wishing Park and Shanghai Disneyland Hotel.
Disneytown and Wishing Park are comparable to Disney Springs at Disney World and the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland.
A host of safety and health measures have been introduced at the open locations at Shanghai Disneyland. Every guest entering the resort is required to undergo temperature screening procedures and present their Shanghai QR Code. The QR codes are a government mandated system where Chinese citizens are assigned a color code indicating their health status.
Guests must also wear a mask during their entire time at the resort, except when dining, and will be “reminded to maintain respectful social distances at all times while in stores, queues and restaurants,” Disney said on its website.
These “reminders” can come in the form of taped marks on the ground indicating six feet and sticker boxes showing where people can’t stand. Twitter user @gourmetdyy posted pictures of what these markings look like.
Breaking：look at these stickers in line-up area before security check
，keep social distance to avoid #speakmoistly #ShanghaiDisneyland #SHDL #上海ディズニーランド #Disney #Disneypark #Disneyland pic.twitter.com/6pj4xJ31Bk
— DONGDONG (@gourmetdyy) April 22, 2020
Will the Walt Disney Company use these safety guidelines in its American parks? It’s likely most of the Shanghai policies will become a reality in the States, except for checking QR codes as the U.S. has not implemented that system with its citizens.
These types of safety guidelines, such as requiring masks and putting markings on floors, are already being done in essential business throughout the U.S.
They are relatively easy to implement and because of this theme park guests can also expect to see variations of these safety guidelines at Universal’s and SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment’s parks when they reopen.
During a conference call on reopening Florida on Wednesday morning, John Sprouls, CEO of Universal Orlando Resort, said Universal would use technology to tell people to stand in line with social distancing. The park would also start with smaller crowds then scale up, the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau reported.
On another conference call about reopening Florida:
John Sprouls, CEO of @UniversalORL, said the park would use tech to tell people to stand in line with social distancing.
He also said they'd start with smaller crowds, see how it goes, then slowly scale up.
— Lawrence Mower (@lmower3) April 22, 2020
Although all these safety precautions may be taken, Floridians may not be ready to leave their homes even if businesses reopen. According to a poll by Quinnipiac University, a majority of Florida voters say they are not ready for the state’s stay-at-home order to be lifted.