Disney World Reopens Day After Florida Sets New Record For COVID-19 Deaths
Disney World Florida has reopened its doors one day after the state set a new record for coronavirus deaths.
This is the first Disney resort in the US to reopen, with Disneyland California having delayed planned reopening this month following a resurgence of the virus.
Florida saw a record high of 188 coronavirus deaths on Friday, July 10, sparking fresh concerns for a state that has seen one of the most severe outbreaks of coronavirus in the US.
As of Friday, July 10, the Florida State Health Department reported 244,151 cases of coronavirus in Florida, and 4,102 deaths. June 20 saw a record number of new infections, with 4,049 cases recorded in a single day.
The US as a whole has not fared well during the pandemic. As per statistics from Johns Hopkins University, there have been 134,097 coronavirus deaths in the US, the highest fatality rate of any country on Earth.
In a press release, Disney has emphasised that this will be a ‘phased reopening’, with a significant reduction in capacity. Health and safety measures will be in place, including mandatory face coverings, temperature screenings and increased cleanliness.
Chief medical officer at Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Dr. Pamela Hymel, said:
Our deliberate and phased approach at Walt Disney World Resort emphasizes multiple layers of health and safety measures.
We’re taking a multi-pronged approach to our reopening, after considering the guidance of various governmental authorities and health agencies, and recommendations from our team of health and safety experts.
We’re also actively working with industry groups and research universities to discuss best practices.
However, there are still understandable concerns about this reopening in light of the recent alarming figures, and a petition has been set up asking Disney to delay reopening parks and resorts until coronavirus cases are no longer on the rise.
Started by a group of ‘concerned cast members’, this petition has gained nearly 20,000 signatures at the time of writing, and expresses fear for the safety of ‘thousands and thousands of theme park employees and their families’.
According to the petition:
As individuals who work in the bustling tourism industry in central Florida, we are responsible for ensuring the safety of our guests and our fellow magic makers.
Keeping ourselves and our visitors safe is our number one priority, in every theme park. This includes our health and wellbeing. We are encouraged to say something when we see something that we deem is unsafe so we’re speaking up.
As per The Guardian, an approximate 20,000 furloughed employees will be returning to Disney World for the first phase of reopening.
You can sign the petition to delay the reopening of Disney World here.
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