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What does Phase 3 actually mean for Disney World and Horizon West Florida?

For many months, bars, movie theatres, and arenas have sat empty. While this was a necessary measure to keep citizens safe, many were concerned what economic toll this safety would cause. But now, as our coronavirus cases have begun to dip downwards, the governor has decided now is the time to reopen Florida’s many local attractions that are at the heart of Central Florida’s economy. Many residents of Horizon West are those who work in or in industries adjacent to the hospitality industry and these residents have often found themselves confused and concerned as to what happens next. The decision to move on to Phase 3 reopens not only many of the attractions that are at the heart of Horizon West’s economy, but also reopens career opportunities for those living in the area.

The outline for Phrase 3 begins by emphasizing that vulnerable populations (the immunocompromised, the diabetic, those with lung diseases, etc.) should minimize time spent in large crowds and attempt to maintain social distancing. Phase 3 also outlines that non-essential travel can begin again, meaning that more and more Floridians will be able to come enjoy Central Florida’s many travel attractions. Also helping to strengthen Orlando’s economy is the order that vacation rentals may reopen. This is good news for many of those living in Central Florida who rely on Airbnb and similar vacation rental websites for income. Bars, nightclubs, and pubs that derive at least half of their profit from alcohol sales will be allowed to reopen at full capacity with “limited” social distancing measures required.

For some time now, several well known sports teams and entities have been using Florida as their home base. All Elite Wrestling has been filming weekly shows from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, to avoid forcing their performers to travel around the country as they normally do. WWE has been filming solely at their performance center in Orlando, as they too typically have their performers traveling from state to state during their normal operation. The NBA has chosen the sports complex on Walt Disney World property to maintain a “bubble” and keep them quarantined from the public. While AEW has begun selling limited tickets to their Jacksonville shows, all these entities will now be allowed to fully sell out tickets to their shows. Part of Phase 3’s reopening procedures include the ability of sports arenas to reopen at full capacity with “limited” social distancing measures required. Gyms and fitness centers will also be allowed to reopen under the same standards.

Safety measures for theme parks have also been relaxed, as Phase 3 allows for theme park capacity to expand. This may be the biggest win for those worried about the Central Florida economy, as theme parks and hospitality are two of the biggest industries driving the local economy. Although the Disney Company has announced that they are reviewing the new standards, they also announced that they have no current plans to change much of their day to day operations. Although there have not been any announcements from SeaWorld or Universal Resorts, many are wondering what this means for Universal’s typical Halloween festivities. Normally, Universal, Disney and SeaWorld would be ramping up to begin their Halloween celebrations. Many mourned the loss of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World or Halloween Horror Nights at Universal. While Disney has announced that they will be allowing guests to wear Halloween costumes in the parks leading up to Halloween and Universal announced a spooky Halloween Horror Nights tribute store, neither have announced whether they will be moving forward with their Halloween celebrations in light of the beginning of Phase 3.

As for venues that have already been open, there have been changes to their protocols as well. Restaurants have allowed for inside and outside dining for some time now. However, with the beginning of Phase 3, restaurants will now be allowed to operate at full capacity with “limited” social distancing measures. This is good news for Horizon West, as much of the economy derives from the many charming locally owned restaurants and cafes. Retail businesses will also be allowed to open without caps on capacity and with “limited” social distancing measures.

Much of Central Florida’s economy comes from much of what has been affected by the coronavirus lockdowns. We are known as where you go to have fun and unfortunately, these unprecedented times have not allowed for much fun. Hopefully, we will be able to balance the thin line between total shutdowns and slow reopening. If we can maintain this balance, we should be able to continue this gradual ascent into economic recovery.

Mike Spicer An official Agent of Excellence, is a local Realtor, lives, works and enjoys Horizon West daily. If you ever have questions about the neighborhoods, the parks, or homes in the area feel free to reach out to Mike directly he would love to help. This blog written by, the Michael Spicer, P.A. Team.

Michael Spicer, P.A.

Horizon West Group

Associate Broker

Keller Williams Realty at the Lakes


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