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SeaWorld proposes reopening parks June 10 with mandatory masks, temperature screenings

SeaWorld parks have been closed since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Credit: AP Photo/John Raoux
FILE: SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla.

ORLANDO, Fla. — SeaWorld Entertainment just took its first steps to reopen its theme parks.

The company presented reopening plans Wednesday morning to the Orange County Task Force. Those plans include a proposed reopening date of June 10 for an employee appreciation day and then June 11 for a public reopening.

The date and protocol changes aren't set in stone. The plans were approved by the task force and now head to Gov. Ron DeSantis for final approval.

Fellow theme park giant, Universal Orlando, presented reopening plans and had them approved by Demings and DeSantis last week. Universal is set to reopen June 5 with mandatory masks, temperature screenings, virtual lines and social distancing procedures for all.

The plans presented Wednesday morning include just the parks in Orlando: SeaWorld, Aquatica and Discovery Cove. SeaWorld Entertainment parks in other areas, including Busch Gardens in Tampa, will most likely have similar proposals but possibly different reopening dates.

Proposals to reopen Busch Gardens and Adventure Island in Tampa will have to be approved by Hillsborough County.

RELATED: Disney World proposes reopening Magic, Animal Kingdom July 11 with mandatory masks for all

Here's what SeaWorld's reopening plans look like for its Orlando parks:

  • Face coverings: Guests age 2 and up will be required to wear a face-covering when in the parks
  • Physical distancing: Ground markings will be installed at key guest areas as well as signage throughout the park
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitation: Especially in high-contact areas
  • Employee and guest temperature screening: For both employees and guests
  • Work and sick policies: Encourage employees who are sick to stay home.
  • COVID-19 training: More training of all employees of new procedures and ways to keep themselves and guests safe.

"The health and wellbeing of our employees and guests is our top priority," SeaWorld Entertainment said in its plans. "We are confident in our ability to operate safely with our enhanced protocols and will manage capacity to ensure our ability to operate with these changes."

More specific proposed changes include:

  • Encouraging contactless payments across the parks
  • Installing plexiglass in high-traffic and close-contact areas
  • Increasing hand sanitizing stations
  • All guests will undergo temperature screenings before entering the parks
  • Seating layout changes in restaurants to promote social distancing
  • Tables and chairs will be frequently sanitized; condiment and topping stations will be closed; utensils will be prepackaged
  • Paper menus will be used
  • Buffet service will be adjusted or closed
  • Retail lines and shops will have more markings to promote social distancing
  • Bagging and wrapping material will be given to guests to minimize contact
  • Animal viewing areas will have markings for distancing
  • Certain tours and interactions will be restricted to one person at a time
  • Certain animal attractions will be modified

Watch the proposal plans here.

RELATED: Disney, SeaWorld to present reopening plans Wednesday

RELATED: When will Florida's theme parks reopen?

RELATED: Busch Gardens, SeaWorld offer annual pass extension due to COVID-19

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