Walt Disney World plans to reopen to the general public Saturday, becoming the first Disney theme park to open its doors amid the coronavirus pandemic. But experts worry about the impact this could make on people’s lies.

On Saturday, Walt Disney World will allow people to return to its theme park with additional health and security measures in place, such as required face coverings, more hand sanitizing stations and physical barriers for social distancing.

The Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park will reopen Saturday. Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will reopen four days later on July 15.

But experts worry that might not be enough.

Dr. Anne Rimoin, a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the leader of the UCLA COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative, told Variety it is a “terrible idea to be opening right now.”

Florida has seen a spike in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. In fact, the state extended its state of emergency for 60 days, WESH reports.

View Comments

“There are several hospitals that are running out of beds in Florida, with health workers warning that there are not going to be enough ventilators and enough rooms, and cases in the state are breaking new records daily,” Rimoin told Variety. “Moving forward with reopening, I think, is inviting disaster. I’m not sure that’s what the world is looking for right now.”

Rimoin said anyone over 60 years old shouldn’t consider visiting the park. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms or has preexisting conditions should stay home, Rimoin said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday defended Disney World reopening earlier this week, saying Disney will focus on safety, which I wrote about for the Deseret News.

“Disney, I have no doubt is going to be a safe environment,” DeSantis said. “I think that where you start to see the spread is just in social situations where people let their guard down. Usually like a private party or something like that.”

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.