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Universal Studios reopens part of its Orlando resort

Florida takes "small step" toward reopening
Florida takes "small step" toward reopening 03:43

After being shuttered for almost two months, Universal Orlando reopened part of its resort Thursday including a half-dozen restaurants and eateries as well as two retail shops.

Universal Orlando Citywalk reopening is a sign of the baby steps Orlando's theme parks are taking to get back to business after they closed in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Universal Orlando Resort lost an estimated $10.7 million per day after it temporarily closed, according to the Orlando Business Journal

Experts who study theme parks said companies are eager to reopen because utility bills are piling up and having some income from paying visitors is better than nothing at all.

Next week, Disney is scheduled to reopen some third-party shops and restaurants in its Disney Springs entertainment district. Workers and guests must wear face masks. Under state rules, indoor capacity will be limited to 25%, and dining tables outside must be more than six feet apart.

Neither Disney nor Universal officials have said when its theme parks and hotels will reopen. Disney World and Disneyland were closed by March 15 as coronavirus cases increased across the nation. Disney is losing an estimated $500 million for every two weeks the theme parks remain closed, Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said. 

Disney reopened its Shanghai resort this week and visitors had to undergo a temperature screening at the gate and maintain proper distance while waiting in line for rides and restaurants. 

Shanghai Disneyland reopens after lockdown 02:35

At Universal's Citywalk, visitors will also have their temperature checked. If it's 100.4 degrees or higher, they won't be allowed in. Visitors must also wear face masks which they can purchase. The venues will limit capacity to ensure social distancing. They also will have cashless payment options, and visitors will be able to self-park for free, the resort said in a news release.

Workers also will have their temperatures checked and wear face masks. All chairs and tables will be disinfected after each seating, and high-touch areas also will be frequently cleaned, the resort said.

The venues will only be open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Restaurants will have a limited menu.

"Guests should evaluate their own risk as they determine whether to visit. And, in line with CDC guidelines, we specifically do not recommend older adults or individuals at high-risk with severe underlying medical conditions visit our facilities," Universal said in the news release.

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