ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A petition started online is calling for the reopening of Disney World's theme parks to be delayed amid a recent surge of coronavirus cases in Florida.

What You Need To Know

  • Petition calls for Disney World to delay reopening of parks

  • Florida has seen a recent surge in coronavirus cases

  • Disney's parks set to reopen next month

The petition, addressed to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, asks officials to reconsider the reopening of the theme parks “until a time when COVID-19 cases are no longer rising and longer posing risk of spreading.”

“Because of the increase in cases suddenly, it is clear that theme parks—a non-essential business—should not be planning to operate until the cases have gone down again,” the petition read.

On Monday, the Florida Department of Health reported nearly 3,000 new coronavirus cases, pushing the statewide total past 100,000. More than 3,000 deaths in the state have been attributed to the virus.

“The virus is not gone, unfortunately, it’s only become worse in this state,” the petition read. “Having our theme parks remain closed until cases are steadily decreasing would keep our guests, our employees and their families safe. Reopening the theme parks is only putting our guests, employees and families at higher risk for contracting COVID-19.”

The petition had garnered nearly 4,000 signatures by Monday evening.

For now, Disney World plans to begin reopening its parks next month. Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will reopen on July 11, followed by Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15.

Thousands of park employees are set to return this month ahead of the public reopening. A UNITE HERE Central Florida union representative said the union is not associated with the petition, but they're working hard to address safety concerns from Disney employees about returning to work.​

Disney has outlined a number of safety and health measures in its reopening plan, including requiring employees and visitors to wear face masks, requiring employees and visitors to undergo temperatures checks, and implementing reduced park capacity through a new reservation system. Hand sanitizers and social distancing markers will also be placed throughout the parks.

Disney Springs, the resort’s shopping, dining and entertainment complex, has been open in a limited capacity since May 20 with similar measures in place. And some of the Disney resort hotels reopened on Monday.

Competitors Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando reopened their theme parks earlier this month with new health and safety measures.

Spectrum News 13 reached out to Disney World for comment about the petition. A spokesperson referred us back to the resort's safety guidelines. 

Spectrum News Reporter Justin Soto contributed to this article. 

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