The Disney Springs shopping and dining complex near Orlando will begin to reopen on Wednesday after a long closure meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. Disney is taking a lot of precautions with its first American reopening, but don’t expect it to take responsibility if someone gets sick.
“By visiting Walt Disney World Resort, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19,” reads a disclaimer on its official website.
To limit those risks, Disney is implementing a ton of new procedures. Only two parking garages and four entryways will be open and capacity for the complex will be capped. People who fail temperature checks will be denied entry. Workers will be required to check their own temperature and complete a health screening at home, before going to work.
Inside the complex, hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations, one-way directional signage, and plexiglass barriers at cash registers have been erected. Everyone over the age of three will be required to wear an appropriate face covering while inside the complex, with the exception of diners in restaurants.
In the first phase of the reopening, subcontracted shops will be open. A week later, Disney retail shops and restaurants will start operating again, assuming that things go well over the first seven days.
The posted disclaimer also notes, correctly, that COVID-19 is extremely contagious and that public places with people present “an inherent risk of exposure.” It’s an acknowledgment that no one can make public gathering places 100 percent safe at this point in time and that a visit to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or the Coca-Cola Store is risky.
Disney has yet to submit a reopening plan for its theme parks and hotels to the governor of Florida, but it seems likely that it will similarly try to insulate itself from responsibility for disease transmission among those visitors.