“I will say that even though the virus is still within our community, we have to learn to live with the virus,” he said. “And so, what Disney is doing is really, I call it, akin to a living laugh because this is a wonderful experiment to figure out if we can reopen business and reopen our theme parks and do so in a safe manner.”
Demings pointed out that Disney had been reworking their reopening plan for four months and, if successful, will “stand as a shining example of what perhaps we can do in other localities around the world.”
Disney World has since introduced new safety protocols, including reduced admission capacity, online tickets, temperature checks, mandatory face coverings for staff and guests over two-years-old, menus on signs, and increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces and high-traffic areas.
However, Saturday’s park reopening comes as cases in the Sunshine State are on the rise.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, total confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida eeked over a quarter million on Saturday, as the state reported an additional 10,383 cases and 95 deaths.
New data released by Florida’s Agency of Health Care Administration revealed that almost 85 percent of the state’s ICU beds are occupied, with just 933 ICU available beds remaining.
On Friday, there were 63,900 cases recorded nationwide — a single-day record — according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
“Well, I think the difference here is that we’re well within our hospital capacity. While we have within Orange County to date a little over 16,000 cases, to put that into perspective with Miami-Dade County here in Florida, they have over 58,000 cases,” Demings said.
“And, even though we have a significant increase in our cases here locally, what we’re not seeing at this point is our hospitals being overwhelmed with individuals who are critically ill. The median age of the persons who are being primarily impacted the greatest by the virus in our community is now around 33 years old,” he added. “And, that really is something that shifted since the Memorial Day period of time.”
“So, they have put a number of sanitary protocols in place including mandates about wearing a mask, a number of handwashing stations throughout the park itself, and then enforcing social distancing within the park itself. So, there will be these safety ambassadors located throughout the park,” Demings said.
“And so, we believe that they will be are able to do it successfully. But, believe you me when I say that we are monitoring this very closely with the Department of Health,” he concluded.