Universal Orlando is officially reopening its theme parks and the Volcano Bay water parks in June, ending a months-long shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Universal’s reopening plan won quick approval by officials in Orange County before getting the final OK from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday. The plan calls for a phased reopening at the beginning of June. Team members will get a preview of new procedures on June 1 and 2, followed by select invited guests on June 3 and 4. The parks will reopen to the public on June 5.
“We want to invite guests back to our theme parks in a cautious and thoughtful way,” Universal Parks & Resorts chairman and CEO Tom Williams said in a press release. “We have put new health and safety procedures in place for both our team members and guests. And we have worked hard to make sure our guests can enjoy their time with family and friends. Doing this the right way will take all of us — and we need everyone’s help. Guests should follow our guidelines and continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC and health officials.”
It will not be business-as-usual on June 5, as the continued threat of the pandemic will require a variety of operational changes aimed at limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Face masks and temperature checks will be required for both guests and employees, park and attraction capacity will be reduced and some parts of the parks, such as interactive play areas, will remain closed.
The park also plans to expand use of its Virtual Line system to reduce crowding in queues. Hand sanitizer use will be required before boarding any ride. For attractions with 3-D glasses, employees will hand out glasses individually, rather than having guests pick them up.
The Universal press release contains a stark reminder that the pandemic is not over: “Any interaction with the general public poses an elevated risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and Universal cannot guarantee guests will not be exposed during their visit.”
Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay have been closed since March 16. target=”_blank”Universal CityWalk was the first part of the resort to welcome back guests when it partially reopened on May 14.
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