Though Walt Disney World and Disney parks around the globe remain closed until further notice in light of the current global situation, meetings continue this week for the Re-Open Florida Task Force. The task force — which Governor Ron DeSantis appointed as the state looks to reopen its economy in light of new federal guidelines which were revealed last week — includes Josh D’Amaro, Walt Disney World President, among its Executive Committee members.
The task force is examining several aspects of business in the state divided into various Industry Working Groups discussing everything from education and business administration to agriculture and beyond. And a subcommittee focused on Florida’s tourism industry includes the state’s theme parks, restaurants, hotels, cruise ship ports, and more.
Today’s conference call of the tourism-focused group — which you can hear on thefloridachannel.org — focused on real estate, construction, and transportation within the state. And with regards to Florida, as a top vacation destination for visitors from around the globe, airports are certainly a key element in transportation!
A quiet MCO (Orlando International Airport) is something that few of us who travel to Walt Disney World can envision. However, Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport, shared that airports across the country are currently experiencing a 97% decrease in activity, recognizing that it could be years before numbers get back to normal.
However, major steps already being taken towards developing the best practices for both airport workers and passengers when travel starts to increase again. Mr. Lopano spoke of efforts that include reducing touchpoints by encouraging more use of mobile boarding passes among passengers and also encouraging traveling with carry-on luggage only, when possible, to reduce contact at the ticket counter and baggage claim.
Sanitation is also a major focus, and regarding the cleaning of airport facilities, Mr. Lopano shared that more frequent cleaning is happening using a hospital-grade cleaner and the pressure-washing of restrooms every night. The number of available hand-sanitizers in the airport has been doubled. Employees are now required to wear masks, and masks are available for sale for those who wish to purchase (with mandated wearing anticipated as part of the TPA Ready program).
Further measures include the installation of plexiglass in customs facilities and security checkpoints. And social distancing guidelines are being implemented with 6-feet distance between guests in security lines (through a widening of the distance in the lanes), limited seating in gate areas, and spreading out encouraged in baggage claims and on shuttles. Workers in restaurants are also adhering to social distancing practices.
The screening of passengers traveling in from “hot spots” continues in coordination as the airports are working together with the Department of Health, the Department of Transportation, and the National Guard with regards to health screenings as directed on the federal level.
Ted Christie III, President, and CEO of Spirit Airlines — which employs 5,500 people in Florida — expressed how consumers will travel only when people feel the whole process is clean and safe. He shared that all aspects of Florida’s tourism industry can work together to “remind the traveling public of all that Florida has to offer.”
Meetings of the Re-Open Florida Task Force this week have also involved discussions of the theme parks and restaurant industry — and what the futures of both may look like, and we will keep you posted as the Task Force continues to explore reopening Florida in this week’s meetings.
To learn more about the impact of the current global situation on the Disney Parks, you may visit any of the links below.