Universal Orlando asked state and local officials in Florida Thursday to allow the theme park to reopen as soon as June 1, with precautions due to the coronavirus.
The economic recovery task force in Orange County, Florida, unanimously approved Universal’s plan on Thursday. The plan must also be approved by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
If approved, Universal Orlando could be on the of the biggest theme parks in the country to reopen. Universal, Walt Disney World and SeaWorld in Florida have been closed since mid-March because of the global pandemic.
A reopened Universal will look very different for visitors and employees, according to a presentation made to the local economic recovery task force Thursday by company officials.
Upon arrival, valet parking will not be available, and cars will park one or two spaces apart. Visitors will receive a temperature check, and no one with a temperature above 100.4 degrees will be allowed to enter. Employees will also receive temperature checks.
Visitors and employees will be required to wear face coverings. Universal will provide disposable face masks for visitors who don’t bring their own.
The park’s capacity will be limited, said John Sprouls, chief administrative officer for Universal Studios, though he did not specify by how much.
“We’re going to ramp up very slowly,” he told the economic recovery task force.
Sprouls said the interactive play areas at the park would remain closed, and the park would eliminate water and mist elements.
On rides, parties will be kept together, with no commingling, and attraction queues will be spaced out for social distancing.
Single-use paper menus will replace reusable ones in the park’s restaurants. Mobile food ordering will be set up for all venues, Sprouls said. The park will offer contactless payment options, including Google Pay and Apple Pay, but will also accept cash.
Employees will be required to take regular hand-washing breaks, wear face masks and space themselves at least six feet apart. They will also be asked to monitor their temperatures at home.
Universal has installed signage at the entrances and throughout the park to let visitors know what’s expected of them. Visitors will also receive a handout, available in English and other languages.
Universal’s plan could be a model for other theme parks.
Neither Disney World nor SeaWorld have said when they will present their reopening plans to state and local officials.
On Wednesday, the Disney Springs retail and dining complex partially reopened with many of the elements of the Universal plan.
On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis anchored a roundtable in Orlando with business and tourism leaders, including executives from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld.
DeSantis announced last week that theme parks could begin submitting reopening plans as part of his phased-in plan to restart the state’s economy.
The city commission in Winter Haven, Florida, on Wednesday approved a plan to reopen the Legoland Florida theme park on June 1.
Legoland Florida will reopen at half capacity and will strongly encourage visitors to wear face coverings, but not require them.
Like Universal, Legoland guests will be checked for temperature and turned away if it’s higher than 100.4 degrees.
Contributing: Kevin Bouffard, The Ledger
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Universal Orlando opening set for June 1, with coronavirus precautions