Walt Disney World to close theme parks through end of month

Orlando is the nation’s most visited tourist destination, bringing vast numbers of people from around the globe to its major theme parks including Walt Disney World. (Orlando Sentinel via AP)
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Updated 13 March 2020

Walt Disney World to close theme parks through end of month

  • Decision was made ‘in an abundance of caution’ to protect guests and employees
  • Orlando is the nation’s most visited tourist destination, bringing vast numbers of people from around the globe to its major theme parks

MIAMI: Theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Paris Resort will be closing through the end of the month, starting at the close of business Sunday, the Walt Disney Company announced.
The company said in a statement Thursday that the decision was made “in an abundance of caution” to protect guests and employees amid the global outbreak of the new coronavirus. The decision came hours after the announcement of the planned closure of Disneyland in California.
Additionally, Disney Cruise Line will suspend all new departures beginning Saturday and continuing through the end of the month, the statement said. The Walt Disney Company will pay its cast members during that closure period, according to the release.
The hotels at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris will remain open, along with the shops and restaurants at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World and Disney Village at Disneyland Paris, according to the news release.
Orlando is the nation’s most visited tourist destination, bringing vast numbers of people from around the globe to its major theme parks, which also include Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando. The city attracted 75 million visitors in 2018. No one has tested positive in the two counties that are home to the popular amusement parks.
Universal Orlando Resort also announced in its own emailed statement that it will temporarily close its theme parks starting at the end of business on Sunday. The company said it anticipates remaining closed through the end of March but will continue to evaluate the situation.
It added that Universal Orlando’s hotels and Universal CityWalk will remain open and that it has instituted flexible programs for guests who had booked travel packages and tickets with the resort.
In a day of fast-moving developments, NASCAR announced a March 22 race in Homestead, Florida would take place without fans.
And Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced the cancelation of the Miami Open tennis tournament.
Florida’s governor has strongly advised municipalities and businesses to limit or postpone large gatherings as concerns spiked over the new coronavirus.
The number of cases statewide was raised to 42 after the state health department announced late Thursday that 15 people ranging in ages from 20 to 83 tested positive for COVID-19. Most appear to be travel-related but in at least six cases, the cause was not immediately clear.
“I am recommending to local municipalities and private entities to strongly considering limiting or postponing mass gatherings,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference Thursday in Miami.


Florida offers drive-through Botox to quarantined residents

Updated 04 June 2020

Florida offers drive-through Botox to quarantined residents

  • US state allowed a partial relaxing of restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic
  • Elective medical procedures resume, including Botox injections and cosmetic surgery

MIAMI: Quarantined Florida residents worried about their laughter lines and crows’ feet need frown no longer — Botox is back, and it’s being offered at a drive-through.
On May 4, the US state allowed a partial relaxing of restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic. That means certain elective medical procedures could resume, including Botox injections and cosmetic surgery.
Michael Salzhauer, a plastic surgeon known as ‘Dr. Miami’ who has also starred in a reality television show, has been conducting drive-through Botox injections in the garage of his building in the posh Miami neighborhood of Bal Harbor.
Salzhauer said the idea struck him as he was sitting in his car waiting for a blood test for COVID-19 antibodies.
“The areas that we inject Botox are the upper face, exactly the parts of the face that aren’t covered by the mask so it’s really ideal,” Salzhauer said, while wearing a mask, face shield and surgical gown as he waited for his next drive-up patient.
Patients sign up online, paying an average of $600 each for a stippling of shots across their foreheads.
Arman Ohevshalom, 36, was enthusiastic as he waited in line with his wife in their car, although it was their first time receiving the injections.
“It’s very creative, and after seeing how they’re running it I feel just as comfortable as I would in the office,” he said.
Florida’s tattoo artists, however, are frustrated. Shuttered since March, they asking why they cannot open, too.
Botox injections are “kind of like tattooing, he’s injecting stuff into the skin,” said tattoo shop owner Chico Cortez. Florida is home to about 10,000 working tattoo artists, according to the Florida Professional Tattoo Artist Guild.
An emailed statement from a Miami-Dade County spokesperson said Mayor Carlos Gimenez has yet to set a date for reopening tattoo shops. “He is working with industry members and the medical experts to come up with the best way to reopen safely,” it said.