Universal Orlando warns visitors of ‘inherent risk’ of coronavirus exposure

Touring the real-life Hogwarts Castle might come with a coronavirus curse.

Universal Orlando has warned guests that they might contract the deadly COVID-19 bug if they visit the sprawling resort when it reopens next week.

“Note that any public location where people are present provides an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 and we cannot guarantee that you will not be exposed during your visit,” reads a disclaimer on the park’s website.

The blunt notice came alongside Universal’s announcement that its Florida theme parks would welcome visitors again on June 5, nearly three months after the pandemic forced them to close.

The reopening of Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Volcano Bay and Universal’s Islands of Adventure — home to the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” attraction — will come about three weeks after the resort’s CityWalk entertainment and food complex started operating again earlier this month.

Employees will start returning to the parks on June 1 followed by some invited guests on June 3 and the general public two days later, John Sprouls, executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Universal Parks & Resorts, told local officials last week.

But guests will have to jump through several hoops before taking a spin on the “Incredible Hulk” roller coaster. Visitors will have their temperatures checked before entering the parks and must wear a face covering while inside, Universal says. The parks will also limit their capacity and ask guests to follow social distancing guidelines, according to the website.

Guests peer through the closed gate to Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida.
Guests peer through the closed gate to Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida.Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel via AP

“We want people to know before you go exactly what we’re going to expect — exactly what we’re going to provide, from the point of view of our team members, but also what we’re going to expect of guests,” Sprouls said.

Comcast, Universal’s parent company, warned last month that it would lose roughly $500 million in revenue if theme parks remained closed through June.

Walt Disney World similarly warned guests of the risk posed by the coronavirus as it reopened its Disney Springs shopping and dining complex last week. The Mouse House has not yet set a date for reopening its massive Florida theme parks.

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