Seaworld Orlando will reopen to the public on Thursday, June 11, the company announced on Wednesday. The Florida theme park and aquarium will be open for business in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, according to My News 13 reporter Ashley Carter. Other Florida-based theme parks are announcing their plans for re-opening this week as well.
Seaworld is opening its doors next month, despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Florida has allowed many businesses and public spaces to re-open with some measure of social distancing in place, and it looks like Seaworld has found a way to do the same. While some critics question how safe the theme park can really be, others are excited to get back out of the house and enjoy the summer.
BREAKING: SeaWorld Orlando plans to reopen to the public on June 11. The park would reopen to employees on June 10 for an employee appreciation night. pic.twitter.com/cysYkPWWZC— Ashley Carter (@AshleyLCarter1) May 27, 2020
SeaWorld Orlando has some precautions planned for the grand re-opening to keep customers and employees as safe as possible from COVID-19. According to The Orlando Informer, the company will enforce social distancing at the entrances and exits to the park, with signage and barriers spacing out the lines as much as possible. Customers will also not be required to touch surfaces on their way in and out with touchless turnstiles, and enhanced cleaning protocols will be in place for all "high-contact surfaces."
Restaurants within the park have also been rearranged to facilitate social distancing. Seating layouts have reportedly been rearranged, and all menus will be made of paper and thrown out after each use. The park promises plenty of "grab-and-go and pre-packaged food offerings," but wrote that "buffet-style service will be adjusted or closed until further notice."
Similar spaced-out lines and cleaning protocols will be enforced at the animal exhibits themselves. In some cases, some attractions may be limited to one party at a time to maximize safety, while others may be closed altogether if there is no safe way to conduct them. Finally, retail shops at the park will be cleaned and spaced out as well.
Of course, fans are excited for SeaWorld to reopen, and many began making plans on social media on Wednesday to take a trip there next month. However, critics say that it is not safe to reopen a park like that yet, nor is it worth the risk it entails. Some even worried about how COVID-19 exposure might impact the animals themselves.