More than two months after the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the Walt Disney World Resort, the first phase of a gradual reopening will begin — not in the theme parks, but at the Disney Springs shopping and dining district.

In a Disney Parks Blog post, Disney Springs vice president Matt Simon said a small number of stores and restaurants owned by third-party operators will begin to reopen on May 20. 

“As we continue to monitor conditions, and with the health of guests and Disney cast members at the forefront of our planning, we are making several operational changes,” Simon wrote. “Disney Springs will begin to reopen in a way that incorporates enhanced safety measures, including increased cleaning procedures, the use of appropriate face coverings by both cast members and guests, limited-contact guest services and additional safety training for cast members.”

Simon also mentioned the initial reopening will include limitations on capacity, parking and operating hours. Disney World theme parks and hotels will remain closed. 

Under the first phase of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan, retailers and restaurants can only allow 25 percent capacity and must allow room for recommended social distancing among guests. 

Universal Orlando has not officially announced when portions of its own shopping and dining district, Universal CityWalk, will reopen. According to Attractions magazine, employees at the CityWalk Starbucks and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville locations have been told to expect the district to reopen on May 11.

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