Discussions are in full swing regarding the reopening of the economy across the state of Florida in light of both the current global situation and recently announced federal guidelines. These conversations are taking place on both the state and county levels. And today we’ve been following along with the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, as it is one of the two counties in which Walt Disney World Resort (which remains closed until further notice) resides.
While you can see this afternoon’s meeting of the Full Task Force on Orange TV, we’re sharing some takeaways from the conversation with you here.
One thing to note before diving in: it is anticipated that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will speak tomorrow (Wednesday, April 29th), and is expected to present a reopening outline for the state. This outline is being comprised in cooperation with the Re-Open Florida Task Force (of which Walt Disney World President Josh D’Amaro is an Executive Member).
Members of the Orange County Task Force are greatly interested in what the Governor has to share, as the guidelines they are working on will most certainly be created with consideration to plans for the state. Still, Chuck Whitall — Unicorp National Development president and subcommittee leader for the Task Force — shared that the goal is to have guidelines for reopening businesses specifically in Orange County proposed by Task Force members this Friday or Saturday.
This will help businesses know what to aim for with regards to a potential reopening date and what kind of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment such as face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer) will need to be secured to operate safely in adherence with whatever guidelines are set.
Disney Senior Vice President of Resort & Transportation operations Thomas Mazloum serves on the Orange County Task Force. He provided clarification that, while a “working draft” of guidelines was presented this morning for reopening procedures for various businesses including theme parks, these are a starting point for the conversation, and “do not constitute” the recommendations for the reopening of Walt Disney World, which have not yet been revealed.
Whitall agreed and reiterated that the working draft should be considered a starting point, stating that the representatives from Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld are “the experts” and should come up with their own strategies for reopening, and present to the Task Force the measures they should take (and when) for their reopenings. He reiterated the same for other unique establishments like Orlando City Soccer and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
Mayor of Orange County Jerry Demings commented that theme parks will likely be able to start reopening with smaller components of their business (small operating units as part of the larger unit) and “ramp up” to where the parks themselves will open. He added that this is something that the parks will have to take into consideration along with guidelines from the CDC and others.
The Mayor also shared that the theme parks “have to date made the right decision at the right time” and have put their guests’ safety at the top of their priorities, and has confidence in their abilities.
Mayor Demings later shared that it’s his opinion that significant reopenings may begin to occur perhaps in about a month or a month and a half from now based on his discussions with medical professionals, recognizing that decisions will be made with ongoing data and testing.
As conversations move forward and the path to the reopening of Florida develops (including input from the Governor tomorrow), we will continue to keep you posted. In the meantime, you can learn more about the current status and goings-on of Disney Parks and destinations around the globe by visiting any of the links below.
Are you following along with the latest conversations surrounding the reopening of Florida? Please let us know with a comment.