Visitors flock to CityWalk as limited restaurants, retail shops open

Temperature checks, masks required for all guests and employees

There were lines of cars outside Universal Orlando’s CityWalk as the attraction opened its gates for the first time in two months.

ORLANDO,Fla. – There were lines of cars outside Universal Orlando’s CityWalk as the attraction opened its gates for the first time in two months.

Nico Nieves said he traveled to Orlando from Ft. Lauderdale with his partner to get out of the house. He took advantage of the limited capacity opening, dining in at Margaritaville.

"Everybody's happy here. Everybody's very welcoming... there's hand sanitizer everywhere. They're on every corner, everywhere you look. They're not letting anybody in without a mask," said Nieves.

Nieves said it was an interesting experience at the security checkpoint.

“I felt like I was in a movie. They put a machine up to my head and checked my temperature,” said Nieves.

CityWalk opened its doors with a limited capacity after being closed for about two months. There are new procedures. Mandatory temperature checks will be given at the screening area just before the security checkpoint. Anyone with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher won’t be allowed in.

“I wanted to see what they were doing safety-wise and environment wise. And of course, being nosey, I wanted to know what was going on," guest Nana Tanaka said.

All guests and employees are also required to wear masks. They are selling them on-site for those who don’t have one.

“Everybody is social distancing. They have tables six feet away from each other outside. We were very distant from everybody else. People that work in the park are walking around making sure people are practicing social distancing,” said Nieves.

While some people like Nieves enjoyed CityWalk Thursday, others aren’t comfortable visiting just yet.

“I won’t be attending CityWalk anytime soon,” said Amanda Nardone. “Even if they go out and they check the temperature and they do have a fever, they’ve already been out touching, coughing, so it’s already not safe in that situation.”

"Not a good idea..." Roger Barakat said. "I think the problem is most people that lost their vacation will see Florida opening up and they're just going to flood the place, and I don't know how they're going to keep all the people out."

Some of those venues that are open include Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and Margaritaville with limited menus. There are also some retail shops open.

“I feel okay to be out with tons of people as long as they take care of themselves first,” Tanaka said.

Donovan Hudson works at Bigfire. While they’re not one of the restaurants opening Thursday he visited CityWalk to support the other businesses.

“I’m actually really excited. I know everyone’s probably a little worried about us reopening things, but I think Universal’s going to take the right procedures to get it done,” said Hudson. “There’s a lot of outdoor seating. There’s just a lot of room in a lot of our venues over there and they’re not opening up everything which I think is smart.”

CityWalk will be open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Parking is free. As for the theme parks, the Universal Orlando website said they will remain closed until at least May 31.

“In this weather and having to wear the mask, I’m not going to come back, it’s too hot and uncomfortable being out there with the mask," Tanaka said.

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a multimedia journalist who joined the News 6 team in February 2020. Crystal comes to Central Florida from WKMG’s sister station, WJXT in Jacksonville, where she worked as a traffic anchor and MMJ.