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One of the hardest hit industries has been the theme park industry. It really suffered a double whammy because many people fly to get to these theme parks and nobody wants to fly right now.
And then also, theme parks are crowded with throngs of people and it is very difficult to operate all of the different facilities like restaurants, shops, and others found within the theme parks in a Safeway.
But Disney has just announced some very encouraging news.
On May 11, it is re-opening its theme park in Shanghai.
The park isn’t opening up without any restrictions though (as you might expect).
Guests and staff will be forced to wear masks when the park reopens (characters will not be wearing masks so they will not be giving out hugs for a little while).
Mandatory temperature scans and social distancing will also be in place. I’m not sure about the details on these but I’m guessing scans will be set up at the security checkpoints and social distancing will be monitored throughout the park, especially in lines.
Another big restriction is going to be capacity restraints.
The Chinese government is restricting capacity at Shanghai Disneyland to 30% which comes out to about 24,000 guests. However, if things are going well then in a couple of weeks they may be able to ramp up to a new limit.
The parks have already installed hand sanitizing and washing stations throughout the park but they will be stepping those up along with better cleaning and disinfection policies. Employees will be trained specifically on how to better sanitize and stay healthy.
Disney did not provide any estimates on when it plans on opening up its locations within the US in Florida and California.
But the fact that they are opening up a location in Shanghai is very significant. They will be able to test to see if procedures are practical and effective and learn how to best apply those in the US.
When the Disney parks re-open in the US, it’s very likely that they will open up with a phased opening, perhaps with the shops and dining facilities opening up first. Also, capacity restraints will likely be in place that abide by state and or federal rules.
Even if you were not a Disney fan, I think this is big news as it could provide future blueprints on how to operate large events and let us know if it will be possible to get those type of large gatherings rolling again in a safe way before a vaccine is ready.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.