ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The major theme parks in Central Florida will begin taking another step towards plans to reopen.


What You Need To Know

  • Theme parks to begin presenting reopening plans

  • Universal Orlando will present its plans first on Thursday

  • The plans should include reopening date, safety measures

​Universal Orlando will be the first theme park in the area to present its reopening plans to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force on Thursday, according to an Orange County spokeswoman. Disney World and SeaWorld are expected to present at a later date.

Those plans, under an order from Gov. Ron DeSantis, will need to include a proposed reopening date as well as safety measures for visitors and employees.

During a Wednesday afternoon briefing, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said he met with executives from Universal earlier to review their preliminary plans. The mayor said in reviewing park reopening plans, he's looking for compliance with CDC guidelines.

"The underlying issue I'm looking for in those plans is, how do they keep both their employees and their guests safe?" Demings said.

He added, "They have one opportunity to reopen, and they want to get it right the first time."

The Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday.

Last week, when announcing the start of Florida’s “full phase one,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said the parks could begin submitting their plans to the state. Once submitted, Demings will need to endorse the plans before sending them to DeSantis.

Both Universal and Disney have already reopened parts of their resorts to the public.

Universal was first to reopen CityWalk, its shopping and dining district, on May 14. Visitors are required to wear face coverings and have their temperatures checked.

Disney followed with the reopening of Disney Springs on Wednesday. Visitors have to adhere to similar safety measures, including mandatory face coverings.

Meanwhile, SeaWorld's interim CEO Marc Swanson said during a tourism roundtable with Vice President Mike Pence that he'd like to reopen the Orlando park by the end of June. The park has begun testing its coasters with riders wearing masks. On Tuesday, SeaWorld conducted test runs of its Mako coaster, with riders wearing different types of masks. 

The theme parks have been closed since mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic. So far, none have announced a reopening date. 

Spectrum News Reporter Justin Soto contributed to this report.

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