in

Universal Studios' reduced capacity opening sees and empty park as Florida cases surge

After months of being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, opened at reduced capacity earlier this month. 

DailyMail.com was there to witness what the new reality looks like, with social distancing guidelines in place and prevention tips printed on signs placed throughout the park.  

What once was a lively park of hour-long waits and children running free, is now a desolate area with families donning masks, gloves and other protective gear. 

This comes as Florida is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, having more than 146,341 confirmed cases and at least 3,447 coronavirus-related deaths.  

After months of being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, opened at reduced capacity earlier this month

After months of being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, opened at reduced capacity earlier this month

Universal Studios Florida is seen with less patrons than usual in Orlando as new Covid-19 cases surge to record highs throughout Florida and United States

Universal Studios Florida is seen with less patrons than usual in Orlando as new Covid-19 cases surge to record highs throughout Florida and United States

A special area was designated and monitored for visitors to take a break from wearing face masks at Universal Studios Florida

A special area was designated and monitored for visitors to take a break from wearing face masks at Universal Studios Florida

Patrons walk outside the Hard Rock Live Orlando at Universal Studios Florida

Patrons walk outside the Hard Rock Live Orlando at Universal Studios Florida 

Blue signs reminding park-goers to wash their hands and remain socially distant have been erected at nearly every turn at the park

Blue signs reminding park-goers to wash their hands and remain socially distant have been erected at nearly every turn at the park

Universal Studios, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay all reopened in Orlando on June 5 and patrons who returned are expected to separate by six feet in line for rides and attractions.

For enclosed attractions, including performance shows, guests were seen spaced out in the audience and performers wore face coverings. 

A volunteer was called up on stage during one of the shows and was given hand sanitizer before participating. 

Indoor dining was available, but as a precaution mobile food and drink orders were taken. People could be seen socially distancing and wearing face masks at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley attraction. 

Blue signs reminding park-goers to wash their hands and remain socially distant have been erected at nearly every turn at the park.  

Over on the rollercoasters, dare devils were seen enjoying the rides privately as only two rows were seen occupied. 

And a special area, called the U-Rest area, is designated and monitored for visitors to take a break from wearing face masks at the park, while those wanting to take pictures with characters must stand 12 feet away. 

Over on the rollercoasters, dare devils were seen enjoying the rides privately as only two rows were seen occupied

Over on the rollercoasters, dare devils were seen enjoying the rides privately as only two rows were seen occupied

For enclosed attractions, including performance shows, guests were seen spaced out in the audience and performers wore face coverings

For enclosed attractions, including performance shows, guests were seen spaced out in the audience and performers wore face coverings

Workers were seen cleaning seats and hand rails between shows at Universal Studios

Workers were seen cleaning seats and hand rails between shows at Universal Studios 

Indoor dining was available, but as a precaution mobile food and drink orders were taken

Indoor dining was available, but as a precaution mobile food and drink orders were taken

People are seen socially distanced and wearing face masks at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley attraction at Universal Studios

People are seen socially distanced and wearing face masks at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley attraction at Universal Studios

Performers are seen on stilts and wearing face coverings at Islands of Adventure

Performers are seen on stilts and wearing face coverings at Islands of Adventure 

Last week Universal Orlando laid off an unspecified number of workers less than three weeks after it reopened its theme parks. 

Universal spokesman Tom Schroder announced the news Tuesday, stating: ‘We have made the difficult decision to reduce our parks and resorts workforce across multiple locations and business units’. 

‘We are working to structure and strengthen our business for the future in anticipation of the tourism industry taking time to fully recover. In that regard, we have already taken important steps such as adjusting budgets and implementing salary reductions and furloughs,’ he added.  

Schroder stated that laid-off employees would be offered ‘severance pay, subsidized health benefits and professional reemployment assistance’, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

He did not disclose which roles had been cut, nor which parks or hotels had been most affected. Back in April, many full-time Universal employees were hit with a 20 percent pay cut, and part-time hourly workers were furloughed

Patrons were separated by six feet in line at the park and wearing masks while indoors

Patrons were separated by six feet in line at the park and wearing masks while indoors 

People are seen watching a show while social distancing and wearing face masks at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley attraction

People are seen watching a show while social distancing and wearing face masks at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley attraction 

Universal Studios Florida is seen with less patrons than usual as new Covid-19 cases surge to record highs throughout Florida

Universal Studios Florida is seen with less patrons than usual as new Covid-19 cases surge to record highs throughout Florida 

Theme park expert Seth Kubersky says he has been informed by sources that ‘those being laid off are not people guests see face to face’.

Kubersky told FOX 35 that those at risk could include ‘people in event management, people in the props department, folks that fabricate the props: things that maybe might not affect guests’ day-to-day experience now but could down the line’.  

According to 2019 report from BizJournal, Universal Orlando is one of the city’s largest employers, with 25,000 workers across their three parks and various resorts.

 Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay were all forced to shutter amid the coronavirus outbreak in mid-March.

Signs advising visitors on health precautions were seen throughout the theme park

Signs advising visitors on health precautions were seen throughout the theme park

Visitors wanting to take pictures with characters must stand 12-feet away at Universal Studios

Visitors wanting to take pictures with characters must stand 12-feet away at Universal Studios 

Parkgoers are seen waiting in a socially distanced line for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts attraction

Parkgoers are seen waiting in a socially distanced line for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts attraction 

On June 5, the parks reopened to the public at a reduced capacity and with a variety of other safety measures in effect

On June 5, the parks reopened to the public at a reduced capacity and with a variety of other safety measures in effect

Two actors outside Revenge of the Mummy attraction are seen wearing face masks at Universal Studios

Two actors outside Revenge of the Mummy attraction are seen wearing face masks at Universal Studios

On June 5, the parks reopened to the public at a reduced capacity and with a variety of other safety measures in effect. 

However, Kubersky claims the parks have been struggling to attract visitors even while operating at half capacity. 

‘Having visited the parks over the last few weeks, although they’ve had some large crowds on weekends, weekdays are extremely quiet,’ he stated. 

It’s possible that the surging number of coronavirus infections in the Sunshine State is keeping crowds away.   

Florida reported having more than 146,341 confirmed cases. 

The state has had at least 3,447 coronavirus-related deaths. 

Visitors wanting to take pictures with characters must stand 12 feet away, including outside The Simpsons Ride where Sideshow Bob is seen

Visitors wanting to take pictures with characters must stand 12 feet away, including outside The Simpsons Ride where Sideshow Bob is seen 

Patrons enter Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida, which opened at reduced capacity

Patrons enter Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida, which opened at reduced capacity 

Some visitors wore gloves at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, Florida wearing gloves as a precaution

Some visitors wore gloves at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, Florida wearing gloves as a precaution 

Walt Disney World, which is also located in Orlando, is scheduled to reopen on July 11. However, employees and unions are now pressuring executives to push back that date in light of the health risks. 

‘This virus is not gone, unfortunately it’s only become worse in this state,’ one Disney employee wrote on 

‘With a record high of 4,049 new COVID-19 cases in a single day on June 20, 2020, we are now backtracking from where we originally were.’

Source link

Written by Angle News

Leave a Reply

McGrath takes slight lead over Booker in Kentucky Senate Democratic primary

Prince William and Kate Middleton face difficult school decisions