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Universal Orlando Is Reopening Parks With New Safety Measures

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After temporarily closing due to the coronavirus pandemic, Universal Orlando is reopening parks with extra measures in place to ensure the safety of guests and staff. The theme park is planning to reopen to the public on Friday, June 5, pending the approval from state officials, and if you plan to visit, you can expect things to look quite different.

Local government officials approved Universal Orlando's plans for reopening on Thursday, May 21, according to Click Orlando. This tentative opening date will depend on the approval Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations, as CNN reported, though Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings has already endorsed the plan.

If approved, employees will return to the theme park on Monday, June 1, before opening to the public later that week if all goes well. Invited guests and some annual pass holders will be allowed into the parks on June 3 and 4, to test the system and make sure that these new measures are effective, as People reported.

Universal Orlando temporarily closed its theme parks on March 15 because of COVID-19, but the outdoor shopping area, Universal CityWalk, reopened on May 14.

Here's a look at some of the measures Universal Park & Resorts will put in place for reopening next month:

Guests will have their temperatures taken

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Guests will have their temperatures taken with a no-contact thermometer at parking or main entrance points into the parks. Those who have a temperature of 100.4 or above will not be allowed into the park.

Guest and employees must wear face masks

Those who plan on visiting the park will have to wear a face mask — if they don't have one, one free disposable face covering will be provided with additional masks sold inside the parks. This measure has already been put in place at Universal CityWalk.

Employees will also have to wear masks and have their temperatures taken at work. If they do have a temperature, asked to stay home for 72 hours. Employees that are 65 and older are being encouraged to stay home.

Sanitization measures have been revamped

You know those handy paper brochures that you get at theme parks explaining where everything is? Expect to see less of those. Maps will be handed out to guests individually, according to the plan, and there will be a bigger push for guests to download and use the Universal Orlando app on their phones. The app contains park maps and even ride wait times.

When it comes time for eating, menus, condiments, and utensils will be single use. Interactive play areas will be closed for the time being and water elements at the parks will be reduced or eliminated. Universal Orlando's water park Volcano Bay will remain open, but the number of tubes in the lazy river and life jackets in the action river will be reduced. Additional sanitation measures will be put in place at Volcano Bay. Guests will also be asked to wash their hands often.

Guests can wait in "virtual lines" for rides

Social distancing will be required while guests wait in line to get into the parks. Cars will also be spaced apart in the parking areas for extra safety. There will be capacity limits put in place to enforce distancing.

Once guests are inside of the parks, they will be spaced out appropriately and asked to use Virtual Line for rides — a feature on the Universal Orlando app that allows visitors to select the time they wish to go on the ride. Single-rider lines will also be eliminated. Guests will be asked to be mindful of social distancing, keeping six feet between their party and strangers. Signs will also be placed to help remind people to keep their distance. When it comes time to eat, guests will be encouraged to order their food ahead to avoid waiting in lines.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.