A new survey from Universal Orlando offers clues to how theme parks may try to operate when they reopen and the COVID-19 virus is still a threat.
Various safety measures for the parks are included in the survey, though that doesn’t mean Universal will adopt them. Some of the options are:
- Requiring guests to wear face masks
- Touch-free payments
- Limiting attendance to 50 percent of park capacity
- Implementing six-foot social distancing practices in queues and restaurants
- Suspending parades and nighttime shows where large crowds gather
- Virtual queue systems for most or all attractions
- Requiring Universal employees to have their temperature taken
- Removing 3D glasses from rides
- Seating guests in every other row or seat for rides and shows
— AllCentralFlorida (@AllCentralFla) April 18, 2020
One of the most notable options floated in the survey is requiring guests to pass a rapid test for the coronavirus that could produce a result within 15 minutes. Such a test has not yet been widely deployed, though some private companies, such as Emirates Airlines, have begun testing customers.
The survey is no guarantee that Universal will adopt all or some of these policies. Officially, Universal theme parks are scheduled to remain closed through May 31.
Could Disney World allow the NBA to finish its season?
Pro sports leagues are rumored to be considering an isolated site to resume play amid the coronavirus pandemic, and some signs point to Walt Disney World has one option being considered by the NBA.
While the idea was first floated in a Yahoo Sports column by Kevin Smith — a former Disney employee — the rumor gained more steam after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver mentioned that Disney executive chairman Bob Iger spoke on a Friday conference call with the league’s board of governors.
“To steal a line from Bob [Iger] … he said from his standpoint it’s about the data and not the date,” Silver said, according to ESPN, referencing speculation about if and when the league would resume play.
While earlier rumors had indicated the NBA was looking at Las Vegas at the site for resuming play, the basic concept could be applied to Disney World. An isolated site would house the entire NBA — from players to broadcasters — with games being played without fans.
As Smith’s Yahoo column notes, Disney World has two of the key ingredients needed to make this plan work: ample space to host games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, including broadcast-ready facilities, along with enough hotel space to house teams and the necessary staff.
Disney World also has the added advantage over other suggested sites of being private property. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has already deemed sports as an essential business, allowing World Wrestling Entertainment to tape shows in Orlando.
Silver, however, has not committed to adopting this isolated site concept.
“In terms of ‘bubble-like concepts,’ many of them have been proposed to us and we only listened,” Silver told reporters Friday. “We’re not seriously engaged yet in that type of environment.”