On Friday, September 25th, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that his state would be entering Phase 3 in the COVID-19 reopening plans. This was an important step for Florida as it allows restaurants, bars, salons, and other businesses to open at full capacity.
DeSantis flexed the strength of the State Executive Branch by allowing the new order to override any contradictory local legislation.
While Phase 3 lifts nearly all restrictions, it still suggests people social-distance and minimize time spent in large crowds. Both of which are friendly reminders, with no legal recourse for non-compliance.
Many common local businesses can open at full capacity, like gyms and nightclubs. But there is one very large and very uncommon business in central Florida that basically falls into a class of it’s own, the Walt Disney World Resort.
The state says that it can return to normal operations, with limited social distancing protocols. Basically, they could run the parks as if nothing is different. The writers for The DisInsider work hard to not editorialize in a news story, we are here to write the story as it is. We can editorialize in pieces that we designate as “opinion” or “editorial.” With that said, I will simply report that these changes in the required protocols are making those with their primary focus being public health, very nervous. At the same time, these changes are making others, those with short-term economic recovery as their primary goal, very happy. Disney does not fit neatly into either one of these categories, so they will have to figure out how they want to operate after the state has basically given them a clean slate.
After getting pressed by guests and cast members, Disney did release a statement:
“We received the Governor’s executive order and are evaluating it to determine what it may mean for our business. We are not making any immediate changes. As a reminder, face coverings are still required at Walt Disney World Resort.”– Disney
It is clear that there will be no major changes to the parks right now, such as changing capacity to allow more guests and removal of physical barriers installed to keep guests safe. However, moving into Phase 3 definitely gives Disney some room to start planning the eventual expansion of their reopening.
We will keep an eye on this story, so follow us at The DisInsider for the latest news on all things Disney.
Follow me, as I cover the parks on Twitter @SeanNyberg