WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Legoland Florida Resort has been given the green light to reopen by both the Winter Haven City Commission and Polk County; however, the state of Florida must still sign off on the plan.
Rex Jackson, the general manager of Legoland, appeared before a virtual city commission workshop meeting Wednesday night to outline the theme park's plan to reopen, with a target date as early as June 1.
Jackson said if the park is allowed to reopen on that date, it will be 77 days since they had closed the resort to the public.
He outlined the company's health safety plan and how they will enforce social distancing.
Legoland plans to open with a maximum 50% capacity, which would be about 6,000 visitors, though they anticipate that attendance would be below that amount.
Guests will be asked, but not required, to book online in order to allow them to plan for capacity levels and minimize the interaction with employees at the front of the park.
It would be strongly recommended, though not mandated, that all guests wear face masks on the property. Those without masks will be provided complimentary ones, Jackson said.
The theme park said it will take the temperature of every visitor, and will refuse admission to anyone with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher.
"If anyone in your party has a temperature at or above 100.4, we would not allow entry for anyone in that party," Jackson told the commission, noting it would be a "delicate" issue but one they believe would ensure the safety of guests and employees.
They will use forehead thermometers to take each person's temperature. Those with a temperature at or above 100.4 would be tested again with a different thermometer for confirmation.
Signage and markers throughout the park will remind guests to adhere to social distancing.
The theme park will leave empty rows on rides and empty seats between guests in ride vehicles, Jackson said. They are also changing the seating configurations for live shows, and will separate guests to ensure they stay at least six feet apart.
Many playgrounds will not be open, though some Lego brick pits will be available for guests. They would be frequently cleaned and sanitized throughout the day, Jackson said.
All employees in guest-facing roles will be required to wear face masks, while certain roles will also wear disposable gloves and face shields.
The park will not accept cash payments, and will only take debit and credit cards.
There will be no self-service buffets or soda machines, just table service. Coke Freestyle machines will be manned by an employee.
Parking will also be spaced out to ensure social distancing, Jackson said.
Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce President Katie Worthington Decker said while the park is doing a lot to protect guests and employees, they are going to need visitors to do their part as well.
"It's a two-way street, customers are going to have their share of responsibility," she told FOX 13.
Earlier in the day, Jackson had attended a roundtable discussion on tourism and hospitality in Orlando with Vice President Mike Pence and Gov. Ron DeSantis. But Jackson pointed out that the Winter Haven meeting was more important to the company.
"I can honestly say that it's not too often that I will say that a meeting that I attended with the vice president of the United States is the second most important meeting of my day, but that is where I find myself," Jackson remarked. "As powerful as the vice president is, the hands of Legoland Florida's reopening are not in his hands. Ultimately that decision is going to be up to the Winter Haven City Commission here and Mayor [Brad] Dantzler."
At the conclusion of Jackson's presentation, Dantzler said he would sign a letter approving the company's reopening plan and send it to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. He said Polk County also signed off on the plan and submitted a similar letter to the department's secretary, Halsey Beshears.
How quickly the park would be allowed to reopen would depend upon the state, which still has to approve the theme park's plans. The governor's executive order requires a letter of support from both municipal and county leaders.
Legoland released a statement to FOX 13, confirming they submitted their reopening plan to Gov. DeSantis Thursday morning, along with both local government endorsement letters.
"The health and safety of our guests and employees at Legoland Florida Resort continues to be paramount," the company's statement read. "We're ready to play, and we look forward to reopening Legoland Florida Resort as a safe and memorable place for families to play again soon."