Disney World Staff to Handle Mask Compliance, But Deputies on Duty Amid Partial Reopening

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images
A file photo from 2008 shows a member of the custodial crew washing the windows to one of the many souvenir shops on Main Street, U.S.A., within the Magical Kingdom, at Disney World in Orlando.

The Disney Springs shopping and dining complex is set to reopen Wednesday with strict new measures in place.

When a small portion of the Walt Disney World Resort reopens this week, strict new rules will be in place, including a mask requirement for all visitors. 

The Disney Springs shopping and dining complex is set to reopen Wednesday. The Orlando destination has been shuttered since mid-March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. During business hours, Orange County Sheriff’s deputies will be assigned to the area for "public safety and law enforcement functions," but not necessarily mask duty, an official with the sheriff's office on Monday told The Hollywood Reporter.

Disney personnel will approach anyone not wearing a mask and ask that they get into compliance with the new rules and regulations, according to the sheriff's office. The resort also has its own security, Orange County authorities noted.

Disney has made it clear that "enhanced health and safety measures" will be of the utmost importance when Disney Springs reopens, but in a blunt disclaimer it stated guests still assume all the risk.

"An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death," reads a disclaimer on the Disney World website.

It concludes: "By visiting Walt Disney World Resort, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19."

Among other new measures in place, guests will have their temperatures checked; plexiglass dividers have been installed at registers; and custodians, who reported back to work Saturday, have been retrained to pay attention to high-touch areas.

As for the rest of the resort, namely the theme park, it remains unclear when that might reopen, but the ball is likely rolling as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday gave Disney and Universal Orlando the green light to submit their reopening plans, which would include a date.

Last week, Universal Orlando reopened its CityWalk shopping and dining area, also with strict new rules to combat the spread of coronavirus.

There has been no mention of Disneyland in Anaheim reopening any part of its resort, but hotel reservations are available for July. 

"We want to open up as soon as we can across the world, but we are going to do so in a responsible way," Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek said last week during an earnings call. "We want to get our cast back to work as soon as possible."