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SeaWorld hopes to reopen mid-June, interim CEO says at tourism roundtable

Park has submitted reopening plans to state, according to company executive

SeaWorld earnings, attendance plunge as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on tourism industry
SeaWorld earnings, attendance plunge as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on tourism industry

ORLANDO, Fla. – SeaWorld’s interim CEO said Wednesday he’s hoping to reopen the aquatic theme park sometime next month.

Company executive Marc Swanson made the statement to Vice President Mike Pence during an industry and hospitality roundtable discussion in Orlando. Swanson was among a dozen industry leaders invited to speak with the vice president and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Swanson said he had submitted his plans to reopen, per the governor’s requests to theme parks. The SeaWorld executive said upon approval, park officials will need two to four weeks to “ramp things up” and would be ready to open in June.

SeaWorld announced in March that it would shut its gates to prevent the spread of the virus. The company furloughed 90% of its workers starting April 1. In its latest earnings report which was presented shortly after Florida started to reopen its economy, the report showed the company took a major blow in revenue and attendance largely due to the unprecedented shutdown.

After theme parks had been shut down for months, DeSantis rolled out what he deemed his ‘full phase one’ plan allowing theme parks to make formal requests to open. These requests need support from its local leaders, according to the governor’s guidelines.

Though theme park executives are required to include a reopening date when they pitch, Swanson did not mention his target date.

News 6 confirmed SeaWorld will not be presenting to Orange County’s Economic Recovery Task Force on Thursday. The company along with Disney are expected to present at a future meeting.

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