After more than 8 weeks of economic shutdown, America’s largest companies are eager to reopen and make up for the dramatic losses they endured as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
But organizations like Tesla, Disney World, and Major League Baseball can’t exactly reopen with the same procedures they used in January and February. Here’s a closer look at why and how these companies are reopening, and what consumers can expect for the foreseeable future.
After a dramatic legal standoff between Tesla and California’s Alameda County, Tesla has officially received approval to reopen its flagship factory with “minimum business operations”. Photos have spread on social media showing the Tesla factory parking lot abuzz with activity as employees return to work.
“We will be working with the Fremont Police Department to verify Tesla is adhering to physical distancing and that agreed upon health and safety measures are in place for the safety of their workers as they prepare for full production,” county health officials said in a statement.
Major League Baseball
On May 15, the MLB sent a 67-page proposal detailing how the league may return to action by July. Baseball fans across the country are desperate for sports to resume, even if it is to empty, fan-less stadiums. However, as the extensive proposal shows, bringing back the MLB is sure to be a monumental logistical undertaking.
Here are just a few of the restrictions recommended in the MLB’s recent proposal:
- All players, coaches, and on-field personnel undergo COVID-19 testing multiple times a week
- Front office personnel undergo monthly blood screenings for antibodies
- Players receive daily temperature checks at home and at the ballpark
- Any player with a temperature of 100 or more is placed into isolation
- Any ball touched by multiple players is discarded
- All team meetings are held outside or via video conference to reduce physical contact
- Postgame buffets and water coolers replaced with individually packaged meals and water bottles
- Showering discouraged at club facilities
These guidelines, as restrictive as they are, are just the beginning. It remains to be seen just how strictly these rules will be enforced, or when fans will be permitted to once again enjoy their ball games in person.
On May 27, Walt Disney World unveiled its plan for reopening this summer. According to the plan submitted to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force in Florida, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen on July 11, followed by Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15.
The four theme parks will be managed very differently than in pre-COVID times, with certain visit favorites temporarily suspended. The following experiences, which always draw large crowds, won’t occur this summer:
- Nighttime spectaculars
- Makeover opportunities
- Character meet and greets
Walt Disney World is also preparing to limit theme park capacity significantly to keep visitors sage. Attendance will be managed through a new theme park reservation system requiring all guests to reserve park entry in advance. This means that all new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations are unavailable to allow Disney to focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations.
In addition to required reservations, Disney World guests should also prepare for these additional safety protocols:
- Face masks required by all guests 3 years of age and older
- Temperature screenings prior to entry
- Cashless transactions
- Required physical distancing
In a recent statement, Walt Disney World explained, “We’re being deliberate during these phased reopening’s. We’re doing our part, and we need our guests to do their part, too, as we work together to focus on safety.”