ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The major theme parks in Central Florida—Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld—could reopen at their own discretion.

That’s an idea that was discussed Wednesday by a working group within the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force. The group co-led by Unicorp National Developments president Chuck Whittall met again to discuss more possible guidelines for reopening businesses in the county.

During the call, Whittall read a draft approach that would allow Disney World and other theme parks to determine their own reopening timeline.

Here’s the draft that was discussed:

“Theme parks and other venues of that magnitude shall each develop their own specific and unique set of guidelines following the 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 phases.”

The approach would also apply to entertainment venues like Amway Center and Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, who was also on the call, agreed with this type of approach, saying Disney and other large theme parks are like cities “unto themselves” and that none of the recommendations put together by the task force should seem “punitive” to them.

Although the approach in the draft would allow theme parks to set their own timelines, they likely wouldn't reopen before the county did. Orange County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins suggested that language clarifying that be added to the draft.

The working group, which will meet every day this week, discussed on Tuesday possible guidelines that theme parks could implement once they do reopen such as reduced capacity, temperature checks for staff and social distancing markers in ride queues.

Ideas are being introduced and revised during the group meetings before being presented to the full task force, which is comprised of 44 executives from various industries, including the theme parks.

Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld have been closed since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, Disney and SeaWorld furloughed a large portion of their staff. Universal will begin furloughing part-time hourly workers on May 3.

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