TAMPA, Fla. - Parts of Florida’s massive tourism industry could be hard to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Executives at Universal Orlando are making plans to check all workers for symptoms every day, but that leaves a big question.
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“How we can reduce the risk of sick guests entering our parks,” asked Universal’s John Sprouls. “We’re not sure yet how we’re going to do that, but we are looking to health officials for protocol.”
There is no projected date for reopening Florida’s big theme parks. Small business owners told Governor Ron DeSantis’ Reopen Florida Task Force that they want a set of guidelines so that places like restaurants and hair salons will know what kind of protective equipment their employees should wear and how social distancing should be enforced.
Businesses are also asking for legislation to protect them from lawsuits if they reopen and an employee contracts COVID-19.
Business and government leaders from across the state held conference calls for the third straight day Wednesday discussing ideas to help reopen Florida’s economy.
Two professional sports executives delivered some good news on the conference calls. Hockey and PGA Golf are set to return.
“We’ll be resuming play sometime this summer,” said Florida Panthers CEO Matthew Caldwell. He said he hopes games will start in July at four out of five neutral sites with no fans in the arenas.
The PGA may be the first major sport to return with a projected date of June 8.
A tour executive said there will be no galleries and players and caddies will have to practice social distancing.
Several industry working groups on the conference calls are advising the 22-member task force which will make recommendations to the governor Friday on how to reopen the economy.
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