Walt Disney World Given Guidance For How To Reopen When It's Allowed To

A Florida task force has provided the Walt Disney Company with guidance on how to reopen its signature Orlando-area theme park once the coronavirus pandemic has abated and it's safe for them to reopen, Variety reports. However, the guidelines specify only what could happen once the all-clear is given to reopen and does not provide a time frame for when that will occur.

Walt Disney World, like all theme parks in the United States, is currently shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the company, its workers, its would-be visitors, and state and local officials, are keen to see the parks back in operation.

A task force has been created in order to provide a road map for reopening Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando. The task force consists of executives from both resorts, as well as the CEO of the Orlando Magic NBA team and members of the local business community.

The guidelines given to the theme parks feature two key components -- opening up in phases and maintaining social distancing and other preventative measures once the parks begin to operate again.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - JULY 14: In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, Hollywood couple Taran Killam and Cobie Smulders pose with their favorite Disney pal, Goofy, on July 14, 2017 at Epcot in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The couple is vacationing at Walt Disney World Resort while in between projects. (Photo by Steven Diaz/Disney Parks via Getty Images)
Disney Parks via Getty Images | Steven Diaz

Reopening the park would occur in two phases. In the first phase, the parks would only operate at 50 percent capacity. That would be followed by a later phase in which the parks could open up to 75 percent capacity.

Guests who are 65 or older will -- at least initially -- be asked to stay at home, considering those in that age group are the most at-risk for developing severe and/or life-threatening complications from the novel coronavirus.

In addition to reopening the parks in phases, the guidelines call for action within the parks. For example, employees would have their temperatures taken before starting their shifts. If their temperature is above 100.4 degrees, they will be sent home. Employees would have to wear masks at all times and would have to routinely disinfect surfaces, such as railings. Guests would be asked to maintain a distance of six feet from one another. A touchless hand-washing station would be present at the entrances of all rides.

The guidelines do not provide a time frame for when the parks will reopen. That's likely a decision that will rest on the shoulders of federal, state, and local officials. Such decisions would have to be made on the basis of the pandemic as a whole. For now, the future of the pandemic is still too muddled, so it is all but impossible to predict when the parks might begin operations again.