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The three major Orlando-area theme parks that make up one of Florida's biggest economic engines are getting closer to welcoming back guests after a months-long shutdown due to the rapid spread of COVID-19.
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Comcast's Universal Studios will present its reopening plan to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force on Thursday, a spokesperson for Orange County confirmed to FOX Business.
Walt Disney Co. and SeaWorld Entertainment will follow suit at a later date, according to Bloomberg. Disney declined to comment on its plans to FOX Business.
Representatives SeaWorld, and Orange County officials didn't immediately respond to Fox Business' request for comment.
The big three are among the world’s most popular attractions. Around 85 million people visited theme parks in Orlando and Tampa in 2018, the most recent year available, according to an annual report put out by the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM.
The parks closed their gates in mid-March, temporarily laying off tens of thousands of central Florida workers, as companies and municipalities shut down in an attempt to curb the spread of a pandemic that has now infected more than 4.9 million people worldwide.
Last week, however, Gov. Ron DeSantis gave theme park operators the green light to submit plans for safely reopening, Bloomberg reported. DeSantis asserted that the state had “flattened the curve” on the global COVID-19 outbreak in late April.
Challenges facing the parks include logistical considerations for screening not only employees but visitors. And there is also the issue of taming long, serpentine lines not conducive to social distancing.
DeSantis said theme-park operators can begin reopening once their plans are approved by local authorities, Bloomberg reported. However, Jerry Demings, the mayor of Orange County, cautioned that resorts won't likely open fully until June at the earliest.
In the meantime, Disney and Universal have already reopened shopping centers in Florida with coronavirus-protection measures in place, according to their websites.
Just this week, Disney Springs, a themed retail, dining and entertainment complex at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida, restarted some shops and restaurants.
This story contains material from The Associated Press.