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Orlando attractions reopen as COVID-19 cases rise


After a three-month closure, Florida’s theme parks are beginning to reopen. Walt Disney World is scheduled to open its doors to the public on 11 July, while Universal Orlando – with its new Jason Bourne stunt show – opened earlier this month. But the reopenings come at a time when cases of COVID-19 in the Sunshine State reach their highest since the pandemic began.

As well as the go-ahead to reopen theme parks, restaurants and bars have been permitted to increase capacities, and businesses such as shops and gyms have also opened. 

COVID-19 cases in Florida began to creep up in May, but June has seen a bigger rise in the number of people testing positive for the virus, jumping from an average of 651 a day in May to 2,100 a day on 15 June. Most of the reported cases have been in South-East Florida, but cases in Orlando are also on the up, from 55 a day at the beginning of the month to more than 150 on 15 June. A number of bars that had reopened earlier in the month were forced to close again after cases were linked to their premises.

Speaking on 16 June, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said that a ‘second wave’ of restrictions was possible if Central Florida residents failed to observe health and safety recommendations that include social distancing and face masks. 

Orlando attracts 75 million visitors a year. The US has yet to reopen its borders to European visitors, but the latest news has media outlets speculating whether would-be British holidaymakers would travel to Florida amid the rise in cases, even if the ban was lifted. 

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