Disney World in Florida reopens a bit- but no rides yet
MIAMI- Agence France-Presse
Walt Disney World cracked open its doors on May 20, offering dining and shopping to masked customers but leaving the beloved rides closed, as Florida begins to slowly get back to business after a coronavirus lockdown.
As the park welcomed people to the Disney Springs shopping strip in Orlando, the new reality of life in the COVID-19 era was stark.
Parking was limited, barriers have been erected to encourage social distancing, visiting hours have been reduced and staffers repeatedly disinfected high-touch surfaces.
People were asked to undergo temperature checks as they entered, and face masks are mandatory -- grim stuff for "the happiest place on Earth."
Also posted on the Disney Springs website is this warning: "COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death."
"By visiting Disney Springs, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19," it adds.
As part of Florida’s phased reopening following a virtual economic shutdown in mid-March to curb the spread of the virus, more restaurants and bars will open up next week.
But there is no date yet for the reopening of the Sunshine State’s wildly popular amusement parks -- Disney World and Universal Studios top the list.
Most beaches in south Florida also remain closed.
"Today’s world is different, and it’s going to require a shared responsibility, with everyone doing their part," Disney Springs vice president Matt Simon wrote in a blog post.
Disney shares rose five percent on the New York Stock Exchange following press reports- denied by the company- that it would announce Thursday when the parks would reopen.
Florida began to slowly reactivate its economy two weeks ago in an uneven manner, with different rules in the state’s dizzying patchwork of counties and cities.