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Preliminary Guidelines Issued by Orange County’s Economic Recovery Task Force for Eventual Reopening Strategy

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Today, the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force laid out preliminary plans for eventually reopening the Orlando area amid concerns of coronavirus. The initial reports state that businesses will not just be allowed to re-open when the stay at home orders expire this Thursday. Instead, there will be phased opening that MAY begin as early as May 11, but even that date is still up on the air.

Of course, there are a number of big guidelines that the task force has laid out in regards to a number of aspects of life in the Orlando area, including restaurants, hotels, and of course, theme parks. Here is what is being suggested, according to Lauren Seabrook of WFTV. Keep in mind that these are initial guidelines and the theme parks will likely have additional measures in place created by themselves for safety purposes.

Disney and Universal will be mandated to:

  • All employees must wear face masks.
  • Touchless hand sanitizer must be stationed at each ticketing entry/turnstile.
  • Touchless hand sanitizer at each attraction entrance and exit.
  • Temperature checks for staff prior to shift. (Those with temperatures over 100.4 will not be allowed to enter premises.)
  • All employees with flu-like symptoms will be advised to stay at home.
  • Wipe down all railings and surfaces after every use.
  • Phase 1: 50% capacity
  • Phase 2: 75% capacity

Guidelines include: 

  • Tape marking 6 ft apart in attraction queues.
  • Staff to regularly wipe down surfaces at random.
  • Phase 1 and Phase 2: Staff 65 years or older are encouraged to stay at home.

Hotel guidelines will include: 

  • Phase 1: Housekeeping services to be limited and allow for limited guest and employee exposure
  • Phase 1: Promote, if available, mobile check-in
  • Phase 1: Housekeepers only clean upon request, or when a guest departs
  • Phase 1: Allow employees to work from home if they are not playing a critical role in serving guests.
  • Phase 1: Only deliver room service to guests doors.
  • Phase 1: Provide self parking
  • Promote social distancing for guests and staff
  • Recommended touchless hand sanitizer at entry
  • Increased cleaning services/additional sanitation services through cleaning companies
  • Phase 1 and Phase 2: Staff 65 years or older are encouraged to stay at home.

Hotel mandates: 

  • All employees will be required to wear face masks
  • Hand sanitizer at entry to be available in plain sight.
  • All employees with flu-like symptoms will be advised to stay home.
  • Front desk to sanitize themselves on a regular basis.
  • Consistent cleaning of all guest areas.
  • Front desk to utilize sneeze guards.
  • Remove all service items in guests hotel rooms including glassware, coffee cups, etc.
  • Mini bars are not to be stocked.
  • Do not offer self food services.
  • Space pool furniture according to distancing guidelines.
  • Pool gates and pool chairs to be sanitized regularly.
  • Door handles, elevator buttons, and railings to be sanitized regularly.
  • Remove all coffee makers from guest rooms.
  • Remove all guest collateral items, except those that are single use.
  • Sanitize guest keys before and after each use.
  • Sanitize bell carts after each use.
  • Phase 1 and 2: No conferences.
  • Promote social distancing for all guests and staff.

As far as restaurants are concerned, guidelines are:

  • Paper/disposable menus
  • Encourage takeout/online orders
  • Touchless sanitizer at entry
  • Phase 1 and Phase 2: Staff 65 years or older are encouraged to stay at home.

Restaurant mandates are: 

  • Hand sanitizer at every table.
  • Hand sanitizer at entry in visible sight.
  • All employees required to wear facemasks.
  • Temperature checks for staff prior to shift. (Those with temperatures over 100.4 will not be allowed to enter premises.)
  • All employees with flu-like symptoms will be advised to stay home.
  • Doors to be wiped regularly.
  • All staff behind counters must wear gloves, except for bartenders.
  • Bartenders must sanitize hands after making each drink.
  • Seated tables to be six feet apart.
  •  Phase 1: Limit restaurant to 50% capacity
  • Phase 2: Limit restaurant to 75% capacity

As mentioned, these are just initial guidelines that have been set out by Orange County’s Economic Recovery Task Force. Things could still change and likely will. One thing we don’t have yet…an opening date for either Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort. We will keep you updated as things unfold regarding the reopening of the theme parks as we find them out. In addition, keep updated with our special coronavirus page here.

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Rikki Niblett

I am a co-host of the Be Our Guest Podcast and do lots of other fun Disney stuff all around the interwebs! You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram at @RikkiNibs or on Facebook at

25 thoughts on “Preliminary Guidelines Issued by Orange County’s Economic Recovery Task Force for Eventual Reopening Strategy

  • Dave Lewis

    I love Disneyworld but with these guidelines it’s not a place I’ll be until there’s treatment or a vaccine. Don’t think they are doing enough imo

  • rachelle

    What are the dates for phase 1 and 2

  • What about temperature tests on the guests?

  • I think Florida governor DeSantis will announce tomorrow the dates on which theme parks can reopen. (Whether they do that is another question, but tomorrow’s dates will be a start.)

  • Just wondering, is Disney taking advantage of this time for re-furbishments of rides? Major testing of Rise of the Resistance so it doesn’t break down as much in the future? Just seems like a perfect time for them. Anyhow just curious and an idea for a future Touring Plans Blog post

  • Karissa Martin

    I think most of these are reasoable and quite frankly doable. Perhaps 50% capacity to start is still a bit high but I can see it. There is one hotel mandate, however, I think makes no sense. Removing glasswear and coffee makers from the rooms? What is the benefit of having a 1BD if you can’t use plates, glasses, coffee makers? I assume cooking utensils are also a no? I do not understand this at all. There are things called dishwashers. Anyone see why glasses and coffee carafes etc can’t just be dishwasher sanitized between guests? Maybe I am missing it.

  • I don’t understand stupid policies. What is the point of this- “Remove all coffee makers from guest rooms” So people have to leave the room and go into the public to get coffee?? Do I have to pay for it?? And then others are touching my cup when I could have just washed my own hands and no one was touching anything. If there were clean hands to put the items in my room, or I could have disinfected it all, it would be cleaner for me to provide my own coffee for myself. And really there needs to be a rule for restaurants to have separate people delivering the food and carrying away the dirty food. OR the employees need to wash their hands or change their gloves after touching those items. That’s how the items can spread. Not a bartender making drinks with clean glasses and only touching those items. It would make sense for them to wash their hands if they were touching money,etc. But if makes no sense for them to wash their hands in between every drink.

  • I agree, I don’t understand why you would remove glasses from the room.

  • 50% capacity and they think social distancing will be possible? This is not safe. Won’t be safe until there is a lot more testing and contact tracing. Won’t be safe for high risk individuals until there is a vaccine.

    As a nurse, this is really disturbing.

  • I agree with you all about the glasses and coffee maker. That seems like it would hinder, not help…to make people go down to a public, potentially crowded, place to get their coffee! The rest make sense and are extremely reasonable.

  • The issue is the coffee maker gets touched by a guest, which is fine for them, but housekeepers don’t usually sterilize them thoroughly for the next guess. Same with the glasses. Housekeepers may assume the glasses haven’t been touched and just leave them there for the next guest. They probably identified the areas in a hotel room with the most germs and eliminated those things.

  • So. . .
    We get our little shampoo bottles back now?

  • Joy Clarke

    What about over crowding on the buses?

  • No requirement for Guests to wear masks? If it not safe for cast members to be without them then it is not safe for guests.
    If they require shoes and a shirt in the parks then they can require masks as well.

  • Comeonnow

    You guys actually make coffee in your hotel room?

  • How do the phase 1 (50%) & phase 2 (75%) capacity guidelines compare with an “average” crowd in past years? I’ve been to magic kingdom in July in past years, and it was typically crowded, but % capacity would that equate to? Your site offers crowd level to wait time conversions (and thank you for that!!), but it there a crowd level to %capacity conversion you could offer? (Even if it is a ballpark#)

  • Karissa Martin

    I wondered this as well. Do they mean 50% of average attendance of previous few years or 50% of their max New Years Eve capacity? Because those are Very different attendance levels.

  • Margaret

    Thank you for this update. I have trouble keeping up with my home state’s orders, so it is nice to see Florida’s updates here. I am really happy they will not require guests to wear masks. Of course, anyone who wants to can wear a mask; although won’t Disney need to update it’s policy on facial coverings for adults? Since this began, my son and I have been hoping our August trip will not be cancelled.

  • It’s the people not wearing masks who will be the problem. All this sanitizing of surfaces business is relatively useless if there is a fog of particles blanketing an area with hundreds and thousands of people, even if they’re six feet apart. Wearing a mask (the typical fabric or surgical mask, not the N95s that should be reserved for healthcare providers anyway) does not do much to protect you from others, it protects them from you. If you are infected and wear a mask and cough, someone near you who is not wearing a mask has only a 5% chance of being infected by you. (If both of you are masked the chance is 1.5%.) But if the unmasked person is infected and coughs or sneezes, you the masked person has a 70% chance of infection. And there is pretty good evidence that infected people breath out viral particles that can infect others near them even if they don’t cough or sneeze. Imagine how many infected will be breathing out particles (and coughing, and sneezing) in those crowds. Not to mention that temperature is not a reliable metric. In fact, they should be checking blood oxygen levels (that little plastic clamp thing the doc puts on the end of your finger). Many COVID patients are walking around with mild or no symptoms but have pneumonia anyway, which is discovered when their blood O2 measures at shockingly low levels. If you seem relatively fine but your blood O2 registers at, say, 80% – normal is 94 or higher – and you are not a COPD or similar patient, you may well have COVID pneumonia, are infectious with every cough, sneeze and breath, and need immediate isolation and monitoring in case you suddenly crash from hypoxia and on a vent you go, with maybe a 50% chance you’ll survive, tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills if you do survive, plus very likely long-term health problems. COVID is nothing until it’s suddenly something really bad. Scary? Yep. Wear a mask in public! Stay far away from those who don’t! Stay away from crowds even if they’re all standing 6 feet apart! (And really, do you think that will actually happen all the time everywhere you go at WDW?) Did I mention that risk factors like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and lung compromise from smoking are higher in the South, so mortality is as well?

  • People can’t distance themselves 6 feet apart on the Disney buses unless they limit to very few people per ride, which is impractical. Too many people might make Disney’s Magical Express into the Tragical Express.

  • Momaw Nadon

    I am not grasping how theme parks of this size can operate in the new society. My experience over decades of attendance is that transportation, rides, theatres, restaurants, gift shops, parades, and who knows what else are really crowded, all the time. People are sitting, standing or walking next to each other all the time. Are the parks really planning to close off enough space across the board to comply with social distancing? That’s a pipe dream.

    Maybe the golf courses can continue, and a few of the hotels converted into golf resort-type properties, but the theme parks themselves will have to close permanently and be dismantled.

  • Julia Mascardo

    I can’t imagine that there will be any restrictions on busses, given that most people will be coming to Florida on over-crowded airplanes (like the one we saw earlier this week make the news…almost totally full, many people not wearing masks). By the time the parks open you’ll have most people who take public transportation in big cities, and even here in Florida, back at work — I guarantee that the L, the T, BART, the Metro, the NYC Subway, Metrorail, etc. won’t have social distancing in place. It is realistic that busses will be kept to the same standard, which would be no requirements for social distancing.

    Disney *may* issue a statement that to encourage social distancing, guests are advised to use their own vehicles, ride share/taxi services, or rental cars. That’s all they’d need to say. Just like choosing to get on a germ-laden plane like a bunch sardines, it’s a choice to use the bus system.

  • Julia Mascardo

    Momaw: Disney’s golf courses have not shut down — they are still currently open.

  • Banjoman

    “the theme parks themselves will have to close permanently and be dismantled”

    Ahahahaha. Just when I thought internet takes on this couldn’t get any wilder.

  • ExpeditionEverest

    @Momaw Society has not changed. There has been a pandemic. Not everyone is panicking and rocking back and forth in front of their favorite news channel. Life is going to go on. Feel free to not visit WDW but I’ll be there with bells on on day 1.

Comments are closed.