If you’re going to re-open one of the world’s most popular theme parks during a pandemic, and in a U.S. state that is currently considered a hot spot, you’re going to get dragged for it.
That’s the response greeting Disney on Saturday as company leadership moved forward with a plan to fling open the doors to the some Florida parks, come hell or COVID-19. All the protective measures in the world can’t keep park guests safe from an illness that has led to bans on large gatherings of people worldwide.
Predictably, Disney’s mask-laden trailer released to hype the reopening of Orlando’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom was met with scorn and snark on Twitter.
The ad for the new Disney Hospice looks great.
— Jesse McLaren (@McJesse) July 11, 2020
Reports from the ground post-opening aren’t terribly encouraging either. It doesn’t mean that people aren’t having fun, but it does speak to the challenge of maintaining social distancing in an entertainment venue that is literally built to cram as many people as possible together.
I’ve been here for a half hour. social distancing began to be enforced a few minutes ago but tweets about this issue exist from about an hour ago.
I don’t like posting this shit. I want to report on the safety measures inside. ask questions. do my job.
Instead, I’m leaving.
— 🍭 carlye wisel (@carlyewisel) July 11, 2020
Thankfully, the crowds do seem fairly small, beyond bottlenecks like the one described above.
Look. I get it. Lockdown months have been hard. And Disney World employs thousands of people, many of whom haven’t been able to report for work since the parks all shut down in March. Those people need their incomes back.
That’s balanced against concerns over how Disney corporate is handling the re-opening. Just in the past two weeks, the company not only stuck by its plan to re-open, it did so in the midst of a report revealing that returning workers aren’t being tested for COVID-19.
Many people seem to feel that any protective measures at all still don’t go far enough. Enforcing a mask requirement helps plenty (please wear a mask when you leave the house!), but things like that and social distancing are only deterrents. They don’t fix the problem.
You want to show your support for Disney? Then respect the challenges park employees face as they return to their jobs and stay at home. Watch Hamilton on Disney+. And plan to vote in November, because the USA’s bumbling response to this pandemic isn’t going to change unless there’s a power shift in Washington, D.C.