UPDATE: Days before a small portion of the Walt Disney World Resort reopens after months of being shuttered due to the novel coronavirus, the company posted a blunt disclaimer to would-be guests.
The Disney Springs shopping and dining complex will once again welcome guests beginning tomorrow. Workers and guests will be required to wear face masks. Per state rules, indoor capacity will be limited to 25% and dining tables outside must be more than 6 feet apart. And while Disney has made it clear that “enhanced health and safety measures” will be the utmost importance, guests still assume all risk.
“An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death,” reads a disclaimer on the Disney World website.
It concludes: “By visiting Walt Disney World Resort, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”
This will no doubt be a widespread trend for businesses reopening, especially for those that matter to pro AV. It’s already the case at ski resorts, rock gyms, stadiums, and many other business categories that have had, or are vulnerable to, lawsuits from guests who were injured or killed, or impacted in far more trivial ways. In some cases these waivers are implicit with the purchase of a ticket, in others they are explicit–requiring the signing of a waiver. Every parent has signed one of those field trip or sports participation waivers,. It does beg the question what liability waivers for COVID-19 will look like at schools, especially once children are required by law to attend.
The issue is less complex for businesses who offer an optional activity. Liability waivers have always been important to businesses that involved obvious physical risk. Now every business where people gather is in that boat.
Disney gave more details on the Disney Springs reopening as follows: As we begin to reopen Disney Springs with a number of shopping and dining locations beginning May 20, we are looking ahead to May 27 when we will begin to reopen more of our Disney owned shops and restaurants, including World of Disney, D-Luxe Burger (mobile order) and the Marketplace Co-Op. With that as our next milestone, we are eager to welcome back our Guests, some Cast Members and third-party Operating Participants with safety and well-being of all at the forefront of all our planning efforts.
As we navigate through this unprecedented time as responsibly as we can, we have implemented a number of new safety measures based on guidance from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and appropriate government agencies. We, along with third-party Operating Participants, are all committed to a responsible reopening of Disney Springs.
For Cast Members, Operating Participant employees and Guests, there are 6 key things to know before arriving at Disney Springs, and they include:
- Limited parking and reduced entrances
- Temperature screenings prior to entry
- Face coverings required for Guests ages 3 and up
- Physical distancing practices including physically-distanced queues and physical barriers
- Temporary operation modifications, including reduced hours at select locations and no scheduled entertainment offerings or high-touch interactive areas
- An increased focus on disinfecting and sanitation, including the addition of hand-washing stations and hand sanitizers in key areas
Since many of these measures will be new, and may evolve, we want to be sure Guests, Cast Members and Operating Participant employees are aware of all these changes.
After being shuttered for almost two months, Universal Orlando plans to allow the reopening of some restaurants and shops on a limited basis in the theme park resort’s entertainment district this week, company officials said Tuesday.
About a half-dozen restaurants and eateries, as well as two retail shops and some merchandise carts, will reopen at Universal Orlando Citywalk on Thursday in a sign of the baby steps Orlando’s theme parks are taking to get back to business after they closed in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
At Universal’s Citywalk, visitors will have their temperature checked upon arrival, and if it’s 100.4 degrees or higher, they won’t be allowed to enter. Visitors also will have to wear face masks which they can purchase. The venues will limit their capacity to ensure social distancing. They also will have cashless payment options, and visitors will be able to self-park for free, the resort said in a news release.
Workers also will have their temperatures checked and will have to wear face masks. All chairs and tables will be cleaned and disinfected after each seating, and high-touch areas also will be frequently cleaned, the resort said.
The venues will only be open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., and the restaurants will have a limited menu.
“Guests should evaluate their own risk as they determine whether to visit. And, in line with CDC guidelines, we specifically do not recommend older adults or individuals at high-risk with severe underlying medical conditions visit our facilities,” said the news release, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.