CityWalk at Universal Studios Orlando Will Reopen This Week After Park's Coronavirus Closures
The shopping, dining and entertainment destination is the only part of the resort that will be reopening — Universal Orlando’s theme parks will remain closed
Select venues at CityWalk at Universal Studios Orlando in Florida will be opening to the public on Thursday after being closed for nearly two months, the company announced on Tuesday.
Universal Orlando shared the decision in a post to their website, noting that the shopping, dining and entertainment destination is the only part of the resort that will be reopening at this time. Universal Orlando’s theme parks and hotels will remain closed through at least May 31, and Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk Hollywood will also remain closed at this time.
The statement indicates that many operational changes will be made in order to keep guests safe and healthy. CityWalk will only be open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; there will be limited menus and limited seating at all food locations; face coverings and temperature checks will be required; social distancing markers on the ground must be followed, and more. Select venues — such as Blue Man Group, nightclubs and Universal Cinemark — will also be temporarily closed at this time.
A full list of all the guidelines guests must comply with can be found on the Universal Orlando website.
On April 9, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort announced that they would be extending their closures due to coronavirus until the end of May. Before that extension, the parks were initially looking to reopen on April 19.
The decision to extend the closure period was made as the number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continued to rise across the United States. The announcement was made on each parks’ website and Twitter account.
They clarified at the time that annual and seasonal passes to either of the parks would be automatically extended by the number of days the theme parks are closed. Monthly payments for FlexPay have also been postponed due to the closure.
PEOPLE first reported the news that the amusement parks would be closing on Thursday, March 12. Universal Studios Hollywood temporarily shut down on March 14. At that time, Universal CityWalk planned to remain open, but closed shortly after.
Universal Orlando Resort closed at the end of the business day on Sunday, March 15, and originally planned to reopen at the end of March, according to a statement acquired by PEOPLE. At that time, Universal’s Orlando hotels and Universal CityWalk planned to remain open, but they too closed shortly after.
The announcement that the Universal parks would close came shortly after similar statements from Disneyland and Walt Disney World, which have now closed their doors indefinitely. The theme parks are part of a large number of tourist attractions to close both in the U.S. and abroad due to the pandemic.
Before deciding to close their parks, Disney and Universal both told PEOPLE that they were taking extra precautions to protect guests, including stringent sanitation policies and placement of additional hand sanitizing stations.
The decision to reopen CityWalk at Universal Orlando comes just days after Disney announced that Disney Springs in Florida will begin a phased reopening on May 20. Like Universal Orlando, the rest of Walt Disney World — including theme parks and resort hotels — will remain closed for now.
The shopping and dining destination will be the first Disney location in the U.S. to open back up to the public after Disneyland and Walt Disney World closed indefinitely in March due to the ongoing pandemic. There is currently no update about when any part of Disneyland in California may reopen.
Matt Simon, Vice President of Disney Springs, announced the attraction's phased reopening on May 7, sharing that "a limited number of shopping and dining experiences that are owned by third-party operating participants will begin to open during this initial phase."
In order to keep everyone safe and healthy, Simon indicated that a number of operational changes will be made. These include "increased cleaning procedures, the use of appropriate face coverings by both cast members and guests, limited-contact guest services and additional safety training for cast members."
They will also have limitations on capacity, parking and operating hours during the first phase of the reopening.
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