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Phase II promising for tourism economy

In this Wednesday, June 3, 2020 photo, signs about social distancing and other protocols are seen about the theme park as guests walk by at Universal Orlando Resort Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. The theme park reopened for season pass holders and will open to the general public on Friday, June 5. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
In this Wednesday, June 3, 2020 photo, signs about social distancing and other protocols are seen about the theme park as guests walk by at Universal Orlando Resort Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. The theme park reopened for season pass holders and will open to the general public on Friday, June 5. (AP Photo/John Raoux)(WCTV)
Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 4:24 PM EDT
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By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service

June 5, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- Universal Studios opened its doors Friday as the state moved into Phase II of reopening.

As entertainment venues begin operations, tourists won’t be far behind.

That’s good news for the state’s economy, but recent increases in COVID-19 cases have some warning caution before planning that next vacation.

As part of Phase II, theme parks can operate at 50% capacity.

and Disney won’t begin opening its parks until July.

But the return of the major attractions is an encouraging sign for industries that rely on tourism dollars.

“From retail to lodging to food service and so as those amenities come back online it's going to be very helpful to the economy,” said Vice Pesident of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Geoff Luebkemann.

Visit Florida is still preparing for its in-state ad campaign, but data on its website shows tourist confidence is steadily rising nationwide.

That means it’s likely out of state travelers will begin returning to Florida.

But Orlando State Senator Linda Stewart is urging caution before racing off to the theme parks.

“It's up to the individual's decision on whether they want to take that risk now or not and they may just wait a month or two,” said Stewart.

Coronavirus cases saw a spike the past few days, which could reflect the return of large crowds over Memorial Day weekend.

Stewart said ultimately it will fall on businesses and individuals to take the proper precautions for Phase Two to be successful.

“We can only hope that, with good luck, that when these open that it will not be devastating and we'll be able to continue on,” said Stewart.

And when Visit Florida launches its in-state ad campaign, the focus will be on outdoor tourist attractions like parks and beaches.

Whether theme parks will be part of the campaign is to be determined.

If you’d like to see the COVID-19 tourism data collected by Visit Florida for yourself,

The data is updated daily.

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