- Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida has reopened, despite a record surge in new COVID-19 cases in the state
- 15,299 cases were recorded on July 12, the highest number of new cases in a single day by any U.S. state since the pandemic began
- Florida began re-opening businesses and its wider economy in early May
- Since then, the number of new cases of the coronavirus has surged, especially in young people, but the Florida Governor is refusing to re-introduce lockdowns
- Meantime, U.S. President Donald Trump donned a mask for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began
- Some Americans are refusing to wear masks, with people in Florida even holding an anti-mask protest
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has reopened for business, despite a record surge of new COVID-19 cases in the state.
Disney World’s reopening comes two weeks on from Universal Studio, also in Orlando, opening back up to customers.
Disney has implemented social distancing rules within the newly-opened parks, including stopping its iconic Mickey Mouse character from giving children hugs, and also capped the number of visitors allowed in.
Similar Disney parks opened in Asia even earlier, with Disneyland Shanghai opening in May, followed by the Disneyland Hong Kong in June and Disneyland Tokyo in July.
Sunshine state suffers
However, Florida is in the grips of a massive second wave of COVID-19 infections.
15,299 cases were recorded yesterday, July 12, the highest number of new cases in a single day by any U.S. state since the pandemic began.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has so far focused on the economy, not containment, allowing businesses to reopen in early May, despite case numbers continuing to climb.
He further eased COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in June, and recently ordered schools across the state must re-open in August, when summer holidays finish.
Following these decisions, Florida is now the third-worst state in the U.S. in terms of the number of coronavirus cases, with over 270,000 cases recorded.
While more than 4300 people have died from COVID-19 in Florida since March.
Florida has also recorded an uptick in young people catching COVID-19, as thousands of college students flocked to the state’s beaches and bars for Spring Break.
Governor DeSantis has since banned bars within the state from serving alcohol which is consumed on-site, but has stopped short of re-introducing lockdowns.
The Florida leader is also one of many Americans eschewing the use of masks, as the issue becomes more and more divisive within the U.S.
Anti-masks rallies were held at a restaurant in Orlando at the weekend after the owners there refused to enforce local government rules mandating masks be worn in public.
Governor DeSantis hasn’t enforced mask-wearing in the state, but some local counties have, as COVID-19 numbers increase.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump donned a mask in public this weekend for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
Previously, the U.S. President had refused to wear the face coverings.
“I don’t think I’m going to be doing it,” he said in April.
“Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens — I just don’t see it,” he added.
Trump’s decision to don a mask this weekend signals a big change in his position and is in line with health officials long-standing advice.