Universal Orlando Resort Plans to Reopen June 5 Following Coronavirus Closure05/21/2020
Orlando's theme parks are getting ready to welcome visitors once again!
Universal Orlando Resort plans to reopen on June 5, the company announced on Tuesday during a meeting of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force.
The parks had closed indefinitely amid the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March.
The company plans to start the process of reopening its parks on June 1, but will not welcome public visitors until June 5. "On the 3rd and the 4th we’ll have some invited guests, some annual pass holders, to stress the system and make sure it works," said John Sprouls, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Universal Parks and Resorts.
When the parks do open to the public, the experience will not be the one visitors are used to.
There will be additional screenings, increased sanitation and social distancing measures. “Things are going to be different, but we’re going to ask them to be patient with us," says Sproules.
As was previously recommended by the task force, all guests and employees will wear facial coverings. If a guest arrives without a mask, a disposable one will be provided to them.
Even before a guest enters the park, they'll witness social distancing efforts.
“We mapped out the guest journey, and every single point where they come in contact with us….and tried to identify every single touchpoint that we would have with the guest so we can keep them safe," said Sprouls.
Some of those efforts include staggering parking to keep visitors apart as they arrive, temperature checks at all main entrances, contactless purchases for food and spaced-out lines for attractions that keep guests six feet apart.
Employees will start training on the new safety measures this weekend in preparation for the opening. They will be required to do self-temperature checks at home daily and once they arrive to work. They will also observe social distancing requirements in break areas and will no longer share wardrobes.
CityWalk at Universal Orlando, has already opened in a limited capacity as of May 14. That decision was announced in a post to their website, noting that the shopping, dining and entertainment destination was the only part of the resort that would be reopening at that time and the theme parks and hotels would remain closed through at least May 31, and Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk Hollywood will also remain closed at this time, with no dates shared.
In the initial phase CityWalk will only be open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; there will be limited menus and limited seating at all food locations; face coverings and temperature checks will be required; social distancing markers on the ground must be followed, and more. Select venues — such as Blue Man Group, nightclubs and Universal Cinemark — were to remain closed.
A full list of all the guidelines guests must comply with can be found on the Universal Orlando website.
On April 9, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort announced that they would be extending their closures due to coronavirus until the end of May. Before that extension, the parks were initially looking to reopen on April 19, as the number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continued to rise across the United States.
They clarified at the time that annual and seasonal passes to either of the parks would be automatically extended by the number of days the theme parks are closed. Monthly payments for FlexPay have also been postponed due to the closure.
PEOPLE first reported the news that the amusement parks would be closing on Thursday, March 12. Universal Studios Hollywood temporarily shut down on March 14. At that time, Universal CityWalk planned to remain open, but closed shortly after.
Universal Orlando Resort closed at the end of the business day on Sunday, March 15, and initially hoped to reopen at the end of March, according to a statement acquired by PEOPLE.
The announcements came shortly after similar statements from Disneyland and Walt Disney World, which have now closed their doors indefinitely. The theme parks are part of a large number of tourist attractions to close both in the U.S. and abroad due to the pandemic.
Before deciding to close their parks, Disney and Universal both told PEOPLE that they were taking extra precautions to protect guests, including stringent sanitation policies and placement of additional hand sanitizing stations.
The decision to reopen CityWalk at Universal Orlando comes just days after Disney announced that Disney Springs in Florida would begin a phased reopening on May 20.
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