Universal CityWalk starts limited reopening May 14 with face mask rule

A requirement to wear a face mask is just one of the operational changes coming to Universal Orlando’s CityWalk when it begins reopening Thursday afternoon.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down the entertainment and dining district since March 16. A small number of venues will be open from 4 to 10 p.m., starting May 14, including restaurants offering limited menus:

  • Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
  • Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville
  • Red Oven Pizza Bakery (mobile ordering available)
  • Voodoo Doughnut (mobile ordering available)
  • Airbrush
  • Hart & Huntington Tattoo Company (retail only) 
  • Universal Studios Store and select merchandise carts
  • Hollywood Drive-In Golf

Parking will be free at the Universal parking garage. No valet parking will be available. 

The limited reopening comes with added precautions and policies aimed at limiting the spread of the new coronavirus. All guests and employees will be required to wear a face covering and have their temperature checked upon arrival, with anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher not being admitted. 

Guests and employees will also be asked to wash hands often, practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet between groups traveling together and obeying floor markings around the district. Capacity at all open venues will be limited and employees will be enhancing their usual sanitation practices. 

“Guests should evaluate their risk in determining whether to attend,” Universal said on its website “People who show no symptoms can spread COVID-19 if they are infected, any interaction with the general public poses an elevated risk of being exposed to COVID-19, and we cannot guarantee that you will not be exposed during your visit.” 

The mask requirement may generate controversy, as face masks are rapidly becoming a cultural and political issue defining how people feel about the coronavirus pandemic, despite recommendations from health experts that masks can help limit transmission from asymptomatic carriers of the virus. A few commenters on Universal’s Facebook page said they wouldn’t return to CityWalk as long as masks are required. 

Comments from Universal’s Facebook page

Contrary to one commenter’s claim, a recent article from Reuters said it was unlikely that wearing a face mask would cause people to breathe in toxic amounts of carbon dioxide. 

As to what guests should do with their masks while they eat, Universal responded, “We have arranged tables and seating so that guests can safely remove their face coverings while they eat. But we ask that they wear them at all other times.”

Universal Orlando’s theme parks and hotels remain closed. CityWalk’s counterpart at Disney World, Disney Springs, will begin its own phased reopening on May 20.

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