A Running List of Places Planning to Reopen — Plus, Their New Social Distancing Guidelines
Theme parks, beaches, casinos and other public spaces are taking safe measures to welcome people back amid the coronavirus pandemic
Beaches & Boardwalks
As states across the U.S. began to reopen over Memorial Day weekend, many flocked to beaches and boardwalks to kick off their summer festivities. Although beachgoers were advised to adhere to federal guidelines regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), many did not.
Ahead of the long weekend, White House advisor Dr. Deborah Birx warned Americans not to let up in social distancing practices — including hand-washing and wearing a mask or face covering — because the virus has not yet been contained, and the country hit a staggering 100,000 death toll in late May.
“During this reopening, social gatherings should not be more than 10 people — even if they’re outside,” Birx said on ABC News.
Some restaurants in states that are easing stay-at-home orders are beginning to reopen too. McDonald's revealed an extensive plan to minimize contact in its stores, which may provide a look at how dining out will change in the months ahead.
The changes include roping off some tables to ensure social distancing measures are being followed, keeping children's play areas closed, and closing self-serve soda machines.
Some locations will require a maximum capacity of 25 to 50 percent, depending on state and local guidelines. Employees will continue to wear masks and gloves while on the clock, and there will also be increased sanitization in dining rooms and bathrooms. Hand sanitation stations will also be installed and workers are required to wash their hands hourly.
McDonald's officials have not set a date for the dining rooms to reopen — those decisions will be made on a local basis to ensure that restaurant crews and customers feel safe, the company says.
Walt Disney World
The Orlando, Florida resort is preparing to reopen its doors in July with several new protocols in place, once they are officially approved by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Disney plans to reopen the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11, and Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15. In order to enter, all staff members and guests over the age of 3 will be required to wear a face covering at all times, temperature checks will be mandatory upon entrance, food purchases will be contactless (and preferably cash-free) and a "social distance squad" will be out engaging with guests.
The park will also reduce the number of guests during its first phase of reopening and guests will now have to plan and reserve their tickets ahead of time.
Additionally, interactive play areas will not reopen, water effects will be limited or eliminated, meet-and-greets will be canceled and there will be no parades or fireworks.
Disney announced that it plans to reopen its California-based theme parks — Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure Park — on July 17, pending approval from state and local government.
The parks' surrounding Downtown Disney District will begin reopening on July 9, according to a press release from the company. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel is slated to reopen on July 23.
Naturally, there will be some new protocols in place to keep staff and guests safe. This includes a limited park capacity and a new reservation system that will require all guests, including annual passholders, to reserve their park entry in advance. At this time, the company has placed a temporary pause on new ticket sales and the purchase and renewal of annual passes.
Additionally, parades, firework displays and character meet-and-greets will be postponed until further notice.
Universal will start the process of reopening on June 1, but will not welcome public visitors until June 5. Prior to the general opening, on June 3 and 4, they'll host invited guests and some annual pass holders to "stress the system and make sure it works," said John Sprouls, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Universal Parks and Resorts, on May 19.
All guests need to wear masks or face coverings and if they do not have one upon arrival, they will be given one to wear. There will also be additional screenings, increased sanitation and social distancing measures in place, including temperature checks at all main entrances, contactless purchases for food and spaced-out lines for attractions.
Las Vegas Casinos
Nevada is prepping for the second phase of its two-phased reopening plan, which begins on May 29.
“Nevadans have done an incredible job helping to flatten the curve and I want to again thank you for understanding the severity of this healthcare crisis and for taking the necessary precautionary measures, like making a face covering a part of everyday wear,” Gov. Sisolak said in a May 26 press briefing. “Our collective actions have helped bring us to where we are today, ready to begin Phase Two of reopening.”
Sisolak plans to reopen casinos by June 4, and the Nevada Gaming Control Board will release more details on what the reopening will look like in the coming days.
To incentivize people to come visit the casinos once they reopen, one Las Vegas CEO, Derek Stevens, who runs the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, announced that he would be giving away 1,000 free one-way flights to Las Vegas from over 20 major U.S. cities. However, those who live in an area that is under stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders should continue to observe those rules and not undergo any unnecessary travel.
For example, at the now-reopened Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) in Florence, Italy, all visitors must wear physical transponders that beep and buzz when one guest gets too close to another.
“It is a device that immediately alerts you if you are too close to another visitor,” Timothy Verdon, director of the Cathedral’s museum, told France24. “So it won’t be a question of evaluating the distance a bit vaguely. By wearing it, the visitor will feel the sensor with a vibration and a sound that will inform him that he’s too close to another person, less than two meters away.”
Other reopened museums in Italy include Villa Borghese and the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte. Germany's Gemäldegalerie and the Altes Museum have also reopened, as have several institutions in Austria and Switzerland.