As families and individuals yearn to escape their monthslong quarantines, amusement parks, museums and other attractions in Central Florida and elsewhere are taking steps to reopen safely for their guests and employees.
Most of them are closely following guidelines issued recently by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the global association for the attractions industry. The association represents amusement parks, zoos, aquariums, museums and other attractions around the globe.
The association developed reopening guidance in partnership with attractions industry leaders from around the world, in consultation with medical professionals and health-related guidance from various government agencies.
“The health and safety of guests and employees has always been the number-one priority for the global attractions industry,” Hal McEvoy, the association’s president and CEO, said in a news release. “Parks and attractions around the world are excited to welcome back their employees and guests. While an attraction visit may be different, and new procedures — such as wearing a face covering — may now be required, it’s critical that guests play an active role and cooperate in following new protocols to ensure everyone continues to have fun, memorable, and safe experiences.”
The Walt Disney World parks near Orlando reopened in mid-July minus some of the activities many guests enjoyed. Fireworks shows and parades were canceled because they would cause too many people to congregate in one place, according to The Associated Press.
Also, other changes include that guests must make an appointment to enter, will have their temperatures checked when they do come in, and must wear facial covering and maintain social distancing during their visits, among other things. Guests will also be barred from park-hopping, or going from one park to another during the same visit.
The AP reported similar guidelines are being used at other Central Florida theme parks, such as Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando, which opened a few weeks earlier.
Disney World was forced to tighten its mask policy this week.When the park first reopened, visitors were required to wear masks except when taking a sip of their drinks and snacking. But too many guests were walking around the theme parks while eating and drinking without masks in place.
Now the park requires guests to stay in one place while eating or drinking while maintaining appropriate physical distancing, CNN reported.
As parks and attractions reopen worldwide, IAAPA is encouraging guests to visit a location’s website to understand new procedures and guidelines before they arrive.
Also, expect more from your smartphones. Instead of handing over a paper ticket, many parks use digital tickets or QR codes that can be scanned from a phone for entry. Some attractions are implementing contact-free transactions by using smartphones. Smartphones can also be used to order food and purchase souvenirs at some attractions.
For more details about the guidelines, visit IAAPA.org.