If you followed along with some of yesterday’s conversations by Florida’s Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, you may recall that discussions addressed the reopening of various businesses around the county, including the area’s theme parks in light of the current closures due to the global situation. (And, if you missed it, you can catch up on some of yesterday’s meetings here.)
Orange County is one of two in which Walt Disney World Resort resides, along with Osceola county. And while the discussions surrounding the reopening of Orange County businesses is still in beginning stages, the ongoing meetings deliver insights into all the various items that need to be considered for reopening safely.
As one part of this morning’s meeting, the subcommittee under the heading of “Guidelines for Reopening Working Group” followed up on the conversation surrounding theme parks from yesterday. While a “working draft” of recommended guidelines was presented, it was emphasized and clarified as a “starting point” for potential procedures.
Recognizing that theme parks operate under a very unique business model, it was stated that Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld are “the experts.”
And to that end, Unicorp National Development president Chuck Whittall today proposed the following language to Mayor Jerry Demings: “Theme parks and other venues of that magnitude shall each develop their own specific and unique set of guidelines following CDC recommendations and using best practices that will protect the life, health, and safety of their employees and guests. They will be permitted to open at their own discretion with their internally determined level of safe capacities throughout the various spaces.”
Mayor Jerry Demings seemed to agree, essentially, in spirit with the theme parks reopening under there own discretion, recognizing that the proposed language was good; however, he also added that the “bright minds on the call need to kick it around a bit just to make sure that there aren’t any unintended consequences.”
So, as you can see, these discussions are still in progress, and this is still very much a developing story. But those involved have already spoken to their confidence surrounding the theme parks, and the ability of these unique venues to proceed in a way that keeps the safety of the guest as the “top priority.”
Disney Senior Vice President of Resort & Transportation Operations Thomas Mazloum is a member of the Task Force (representatives from Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld are serving as well). He addressed the group later in the meeting, sharing that all businesses involved “have the same common goal… health and safety for our guests and for our employees; we want to have a confidence back that this is a safe place to be.”
This led into a recommendation that “the structured phases should really be based on the public health measures needed to ensure a safe and healthy environment for guests and workers safety rather than perhaps the specific type of business or service.” (Essentially, that reopening should be based on the ability of the business to “innovate” and adapt to health and safety guidelines, as opposed to the type of business).
As mentioned, this is a developing story, and we will continue to keep you posted on the discussions on the path to the reopening of Florida. In the meantime, you can learn more about the current status of the area’s theme parks (as well as Disney parks around the globe) by visiting the links provided below.
Are you keeping up with the latest conversations regarding Florida’s theme parks? Please let us know with a comment.