So far, Orlando’s theme parks haven’t had any COVID-19 outbreaks

Leading doctor says reduced capacity helps

Guests get their temperature taken as they arrive to attend the official re-opening day of Epcot at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Wednesday, July 15, 2020. All four of Disney's Florida parks are now open, including Hollywood Studios, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, with limited capacity and safety protocols in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP) (Joe Burbank, Orlando Sentinel)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orlando’s major theme parks have had some COVID-19 cases in the past few months since they reopened but as of Thursday, Orange County’s leading doctor says they haven’t had any outbreaks.

Dr. Raul Pino from the Florida Department of Health in Orange County said the fact that guests are primarily outdoors when they visit Walt Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld likely makes it harder for the deadly respiratory illness to be transmitted.

Although Pino said there have been cases associated with the parks, he didn’t provide an exact figure.

“That is not to say that we haven’t seen a case here and the case over there that refers to parks, like ’I was there last week,’ ‘I was there, you know, three weeks ago’ but we are looking for (outbreaks) and we have not found it,” Pino said.

He said the theme parks have strict safety measures such as requiring masks and safety checks plus they have cleaning protocols in place.

“The parks are taking great measures and they have gone to great lengths to be able, you know, to open and to prevent the transmission, but it’s also the whole thing of an open space I think is what’s making the difference. And also, the parks are not full. They are operating on probably less than 50% capacity and that may be a contributing factor,” Pino said.

As of Wednesday, Orange County has documented a cumulative total of 35,245 cases, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.

In recent days the local state of the pandemic has improved with Orange County reporting a 5.2% daily positivity rate on Wednesday and a 95% recovery rate.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings credited residents wearing masks and social distancing for the reduction in new cases.

“So our numbers are clearly trending in the right direction. If you’re like me that’s encouraging news, but I’m cautiously optimistic about where our numbers are today,” Demings said.