Mandatory masks, Mickey at a distance as Walt Disney World reopens

Gregg Newton / AFP

Two of Walt Disney World’s four theme parks in Orlando have reopened despite a surge in COVID-19 cases in Florida.

Guests at the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will have to wear face masks, undergo temperature checks and follow social distancing rules.

Parades, fireworks and encounters with Disney characters will remain suspended, in a bid to avoid crowding.

Meanwhile, Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios will reopen from July 15.

Despite Florida reporting a staggering 109,000 new coronavirus cases over the past two weeks, park executives are confident that adequate safety measures are in place to protect their guests and staff.

"The world is changing around us, but we strongly believe that we can open safely and responsibly," said Josh D'Amaro, Disney's theme park chairman, told the New York Times.

"Covid is here, and we have a responsibility to figure out the best approach to safely operate in this new normal."

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