Disney Reopens Theme Parks Despite Florida’s Rise in Coronavirus Cases
According to CNBC, Walt Disney World was set to reopen in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday “amid a growing number of Covid-19 cases within the state.”
- The coronavirus pandemic has forced the company “to shutter its theme parks, push back its film openings and run ESPN without live games from major U.S. sports leagues,” CNBC reported. “One bright spot for Disney has been its streaming service Disney+, which saw its number of app downloads jump 74%.”
- “Reopening its parks, which accounted for 37% of the company’s $69.6 billion in total revenue last year, is a top priority for Disney. Already, its competitors, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, have reopened to limited capacity in Orlando. Disney was among the first parks to close in the state in mid-March and will be one of the last to reopen,” the report continued.
- However, potential guests and experts have expressed apprehension about the reopening, “despite extensive safety procedures and approval from local government,” CNBC wrote. “Especially, after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) extended Florida’s state of emergency for another 60 days on Tuesday.”
- Florida has seen a massive increase in coronavirus cases, reporting nearly 114,000 new cases in the last two weeks.
“We are still knee-deep in the first wave of the pandemic, with cases now exceeding 3 million in the U.S.,” said Dr. Ravina Kullar, a Los Angeles-based infectious disease specialist, epidemiologist and spokeswoman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. “Data has shown us that SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks have happened from people screaming, talking loudly, and coughing and sneezing.”
- Kullar said theme parks will be a “breeding ground” for Covid-19 transmission and should remain closed until there is a decrease in cases.
- Disney plans to reopen theme parks on July 15. The company outlined new safety protocols, which “include a mandatory mask policy, temperature checks, empty seats on rides and the addition of around 4,000 sanitation stations within its parks and shopping centers,” CNBC reported.
Currently, there is no indication that Florida’s government will “rollback previous guidelines that allowed theme parks to open or that it will ask currently open parks to close again,” CNBC added. “Disney and Universal theme parks in California have yet to be given the green light to reopen after cases spiked in the state last month.”