Florida SeaWorld parks reopen with masks, temperature checks

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Guests watch as dolphins leap from the water during a show at SeaWorld as it reopened with new safety measures in place=, Thursday, June 11, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. The park had been closed since mid-March to stop the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Two more Florida theme parks, SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, opened Thursday after being closed since mid-March because of the coronavirus.

Both reopened their gates with new restrictions to safeguard against the spread of the virus.

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Reservations are now required to enter the parks in order to limit capacity for social distancing. But SeaWorld Orlando will be closed for the foreseeable future on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Busch Gardens on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for extra cleaning.

Visitors age 2 and up will be required to wear face masks and everyone will have their temperature screened at the parks’ entrances.

The openings of the parks owned by SeaWorld Entertainment come as Florida’s theme parks industry is coming back to life. Universal Orlando Resort reopened last week after being closed since March, and Walt Disney World theme parks will be welcoming visitors back next month.

Bars, movie theaters and other entertainment venues in Florida were allowed to reopen last week with restrictions, and restaurants and shops have been back open for weeks with limits on capacity. Those business re-openings have allowed some workers to go back to work and that was reflected Thursday in a U.S. Department of Labor report that showed more than 110,000 Floridians filed for new jobless claims last week, down from more than 207,000 claims in the previous week.

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