Disney World Reopening News: Liability Warning, VP Pence Visits Orlando & More
We’re back…again…with a Walt Disney World closure & reopening news roundup. This includes a variety of topics: WDW’s new liability warning, Vice President Mike Pence’s upcoming meeting with Orlando travel & tourism leaders, and answers to frequently asked questions about the temporary rules at Disney Springs.
Before we get to all of that, how about starting with some good news? Over the weekend, Disneyland Resort President Rebecca Campbell shared this video of the Air Force Thunderbirds flyover to salute frontline workers. It’s cool to see, but sort of surreal with the parks devoid of guests.
Walt Disney World has previously coordinated flyovers by the United States Navy Blue Angels of both Magic Kingdom and Epcot. For Armed Services Day, the Disney Parks Blog offered a look back at past flyovers that have paid tribute to active-duty and reserve service members, plus veterans.
Next, a look at the changes to DisneyWorld.com’s operational update/travel advisory (the pop-up alert that appears at the top of the site). First, there was the Disney Springs Know Before You Go Info, which we’ve already covered. Following that, a new liability waiver disclaimer notice was also added.
In pertinent part, here’s what the updated travel advisory on DisneyWorld.com states:
We have taken enhanced health and safety measures–for you, our other Guests, and Cast Members. You must follow all posted instructions while visiting Walt Disney World Resort.
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.
By visiting Walt Disney World Resort, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
Let’s keep each other healthy and safe.
Since reopening, Universal Orlando’s CityWalk has placed sandwich boards with a similar warning. Such blanket disclaimers are not even remotely unprecedented or uncommon–you’ll find them on everything from the fine print on ticket media to California’s infamous Proposition 65 warnings, which are so ubiquitous that Disneyland regulars probably don’t even notice them anymore.
Expect to see signs similar to this up before health & security screening areas at Disney Springs, plus near transportation, turnstiles, resorts, and more once Walt Disney World gets back up and running. The good news is that Walt Disney World has plenty of sandwich boards they can repurpose from the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding pass dash!
There are significant limits on the effectiveness of disclaimers, but minimally, they put guests on notice and offer a sobering reminder that Walt Disney World exists in the real world, and doesn’t have magical bubble of safety around it. For now, it’s a good reminder, even if these signs eventually fade into the background for most visitors.
Several states, including Florida, are actively working on legislative initiatives to offer varying degrees of immunity protections related to the crisis. Among other things, this means that state law could potentially dictate that workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for employees contending that their exposure arose out of and during the course of employment.
Another concern that might be addressed by such legislation is the possible guests could file lawsuits predicated upon negligence. While theoretically possible right now, there would be a nearly insurmountable uphill battle in establishing causation and escaping basic defenses such as assumption of risk or contributory negligence. Even in the absence of (expected) federal and/or state immunity laws, it’s difficult to envision guests prevailing in such litigation given the safety and mitigation measures already announced by Walt Disney World.
Along these same lines, Disney Springs continues to update its frequently asked questions about visiting, as well as its “Know Before You Go” page, which also now includes a slightly modified version of the above COVID-19 Warning. This includes a few questions about face masks (by far the most “popular” and controversial topic pertaining to all of this):
Will masks or face coverings be required to enter Disney Springs?
Yes, the use of appropriate face coverings is required for Guests ages 3 and up throughout your visit to Disney Springs. Cast Members and Operating Participant employees will also need to wear face coverings while at Disney Springs.
What if I forgot my mask? Will masks be provided to Guests or will they be available for purchase?
The use of appropriate face coverings by both Cast Members and Guests is required for all members of your party throughout your visit to Disney Springs. Disposable masks may be available; however, Guests without masks will not be allowed entry to Disney Springs.
What if I don’t want to wear a mask?
Given this unprecedented situation, we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we navigate these challenges as responsibly as we can. With our robust measures in place, we believe a key factor in our success in reopening Disney Springs will be our Guests’ acceptance and adherence to our new protocols. Guests without masks will not be allowed entry to Disney Springs.
There are also a few questions about social distancing and the capacity of Disney Springs:
How are you limiting capacity at Disney Springs?
Disney Springs will open with the implementation of Guest capacity measures to limit density and comply with state and federal guidelines. Upon opening, this includes limiting our parking locations for arriving Guests to the Orange and Lime Parking Garages.
How will restaurants handle reservations when they reach capacity?
Unfortunately, due to capacity restrictions at Disney Springs, once the parking garages are full, Guests will no longer be able to park and visit Disney Springs. This includes Guests who have a booked dining reservation. If a Guest is unable to make their reservation because Disney Springs is closed due to capacity, the dining guarantee charge will be waived.
How will Disney Springs control capacity for the stores and restaurants that will be open?
One-way and other directional signage have been installed to assist Guests to responsibly move throughout the property. Additionally, ground markings have also been installed to allow for proper physical distancing when queuing is needed at a location. We are also adding a new team to engage with Guests and promote physical distancing guidelines in common areas and queues.
That new team has our sympathies as enforcing these rules will give new meaning to the term “thankless job.” To those of you who do choose to visit Disney Springs, please be kind to Cast Members. This should go without saying and is always the case, but it’s especially true now.
Front of line Cast Members with whom you interact have literally zero say over Walt Disney World’s policies they’re tasked with enforcing, and you’re not going to change anything by being rude to them. These people have already gone through a lot during this ordeal, and some probably have mixed feelings about being back at work. Suffice to say, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar…
Finally, Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to visit Orlando on Wednesday to make a number of stops. The initial aim of the visit was to stop at a nursing home to deliver personal protective equipment as part of a White House initiative to deliver PPE to 15,000 nursing homes nationwide.
According to the White House, Vice President Pence will then meet with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to discuss Florida’s phased reopening with the governor. As we previously reported, DeSantis announced Florida Is Entering “Full Phase 1” to reopen its economy, which notably increases restaurant seating to 50% capacity on Monday.
Most notably for Walt Disney World fans, Vice President Pence will join in a roundtable with hospitality and tourism industry leaders to talk about reopening. Florida’s “Full Phase 1” also entails theme park operators submitting their safety plans and a target date for reopening to the state for review.
It’s unclear who from Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando will participate in this roundtable. On the state level, Josh D’Amaro, President of Walt Disney World Resort, is part of the Re-Open Florida Task Force Executive Committee headed by Governor Ron DeSantis. (Note that we usually cover the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force meeting, which counts Walt Disney World SVP Thomas Mazloum as a member. There are several task force groups and subcommittees–it can get confusing.)
We’re hopeful that one thing to come out of the most recent developments and this week’s roundtables is a target reopening date for Walt Disney World. Whether that’s one month from now or six, some clarity would be nice so people–both guests and Cast Members–have a better idea what the future holds. It’s absolutely understandable that this is an evolving and dynamic situation, and Walt Disney World has made a range of contingency plans. However, the official communications from Disney have left something to be desired, with guest-facing and Cast-facing policies and ‘announcements’ (or lack thereof) differing from, and sometimes contradicting, what leadership has stated in interviews or task force meetings.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of this news? Thoughts on the liability warning? Think a reopening date will come of this week’s meetings with theme park leaders in Florida? We welcome a variety of viewpoints here, and don’t delete anything on opinion alone. However, we will not tolerate insults, arguing, or politically-charged comments. Don’t ruin a 95% fine comment with an unnecessary cheap shot—that 5% will get it deleted. Additionally, please do not incessantly harp on the same point across multiple comments. Respectfully share your opinion and move along.
Cindy i agree completely. I was planning an august visit but will be using my vacation dollars elsewhere. I am a senior and am counted as part of the vulnerable population but will not be wearing a mask. The physical toll of wearing a face covering for 10+ hours in Florida in August would be bad enough but the magic of disney would be gone for me. A far as “experts” i agree that simply. depending on the opinions of those who log the most hours on your television is not enough at least for me. I have spent 43+ years in healthcare and one big mistake many people make is believing that everyone in healthcare speaks with one voice regarding this.
How do we know that the mask requirement is “TEMPORARY”?
Sea Dog, that’s exactly what I was thinking. Since it’s part of the agreement with the union, when and what are the chances of them relaxing the mask requirement? They do say it’s “temporary” in their statement, but it being tied up with the union makes me concerned. We spend about $10,000+ annually on a vacation at Disney, but will not, if masks are mandatory. Hopefully, there will be other places we can use our vacation savings on, in the next year or two, where masks are not required (beach, national park). That’s our choice, based on several different reasons, not looking to argue here.
“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” – JFK. If all I am asked to do is wear a mask, social distance and wash my hands during a pandemic so that my fellow citizens can go back to work sooner to provide for their families and help others stay healthy, then I count myself blessed that is all I’m asked to do.
very well said here! Exactly how I feel about all the angst towards the new normal.
One point that is Paramount Why are all of you People getting your Information concerning Virus Protection Practice from a Disney Blog Web Site ??? Much more reliable sources Exist!
With international travel currently banned indefinitely in the US and from another site, 50% of the hardcore Disney fans would not go with masks, which means a much higher % of non-hardcore fans, this could become an major economic problem for Disney World.
There may not be enough visitors to make it sustainable/profitable for Disney World over the next few years especially with US unemployment projected to be much higher than normal the next few years and an apprehension from international visitors of traveling even with a travel ban lifted. Even lifting the mask requirement, there still may be a good % of people who will want to wait.
Even the ones that are saying they will go with masks now, may not go as often given the experiences or lack of in the long-term due to reduced attendance.
Potential lack of visitors will mean continued diminished experiences, closed resorts, Disney Springs having closed stores potentially, restaurants closed or shuttered, and even 1-2 parks closed in addition to the water parks. This could all happen the longer we are not able to get back to some type of normal.
I would say that Universal may be in a better position to overcome this since they are smaller and tend to cater to the 12-60 group and Disney World’s demographics is much more broader. Disneyland is also potentially in a much better position due to more reliance on locals and smaller as well.
The leisure industry has significant challenges the longer we can not get back to normal.
My family will choose not to spend money at Disney as long as the mask requirement is in effect. There is zero science behind wearing a mask to prevent infection. The virus particles are so tiny that they easily travel through most masks being warned. I have been to Disney many times in the Summer and the temps are brutal and wearing a mask would be excruciating. I hope Disney will reconsider this policy.
Sorry for the typo- warned should be worn
I agree with some of what you posted but an N95 mask worn properly, donned and doffed properly and disposed of after use WILL protect both user and others from virus BUT it cannot be looked upon as foolproof as the virus can contaminate other things like articles of clothing. Also, an N95 is a real chore to wear. First, the ones with the exhalation valve have been shown to contaminate the surrounding area and the wearer as well. Second, a medical grade N95 was made to be worn in an aircondioned environment. I don’t think anyone could wear one for an extended period in Florida in the summer.
You are essentially correct about the masks and bandannas being worn presently. While they are better than nothing the protection they offer is far below that of a medical grade mask.
Once again, what you choose to do after evaluating the conditions and circumstances of the reopening is up to you.
Then stay home
I so agree with you and am glad to see someone else shares our opinion. We have a trip fully booked for late August, but will reschedule to a future date when masks will not be required. We are traveling with children ages 3-12 and wearing a mask for 7 days straight, 10 plus hours a day is not healthy. We have been planning this trip for a long time and are coming from the west coast. We would be ecstatic if Disney would reconsider this requirement, but I’m not expecting them to. 🙁
I personally would not travel to Disney if they remove the mask restriction. Wearing a mask is not only about you but about the people around you. I get that masks are uncomfortable but even if it gives a small help to ensure there is not another outbreak – it is worth the discomfort. We had a big family trip planned for August but we are postponing. Not because of masks, but because some in the family are older and I don’t want to take the risk.
Hi Cindy. It can be very challenging to wade through all of the fast emerging data on how to reduce COVID-19 transmission. However, the emerging consensus is that masks reduce the chance of emission by about 80%, which is not 100%, but much higher than normal. I found this article to be helpful and balanced, and especially appreciated this quotation: “The protection from cloth masks isn’t 0, and it’s definitely not 100, but the way to think about any of the masks and our overall approach is how do you put together all the pieces of the puzzle to give you a complete picture of minimizing the risk of transmission of COVID-19?” said Dr. Thomas Tsai, a surgeon and health policy researcher at Harvard’s school of public health. “Hand washing, wearing masks, and social distancing is part of it, but none of them alone. It’s how you put together these different tools to meet the task at hand. Wearing any mask is a very, very small price to pay to be safe and return to society.” https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/05/19/politifact-face-masks-including-homemade-ones-are-effective-covid-19-protection-experts-say/. Hope that information helps you keep your loved ones safe and helps you be a responsible citizen!
@Cindy, this is where we are in this pandemic. Disney wants to open just as much, and probably more and for more varied reasons, than you do. This is a historic time for the world, and Disney. Everyone is trying to move forward. People accommodating a mask requirement helps move things forward for Disney and everyone else. Wearing a mask in the heat isn’t for everyone, and those who don’t want to shouldn’t go. People who do choose to go and abide by these TEMPORARY rules are actually helping Disney get back to normal during this unprecedented and historical moment. So, be a proactive participant and positive part of history or don’t be. No one will fault you for wanting to wait.
As you said and as I’ve said many times, a mask is only PART of the protocol for successfully mitigating exposure to the virus. I’m not going to bother repeating what should be done and how to do it effectively because people either don’t read, don’t comprehend, or choose to be wilfully ignorant. In any case, trying to educate is a losing proposition. People make up their minds based on talking heads and don’t bother to do any independent research. That takes work and critical thinking. Once people make up their minds it is almost impossible to change them. Just sit back, grab some popcorn and enjoy the show. Think of it as Disney entertainment with no charge.
@Sarah- I have no trouble wading through the information available. In fact, I do not think sources quoting a doctor and their opinion can be construed as scientific evidence, many doctors differ in their approach to this virus.Your example of a doctor quoted in the Tampa Bay Times or even doctors quoted in Newsweek, USA Today, etc are not proof. I base my opinion on actual studies that have been conducted. As one commenter to my original post pointed out, the N95 has been proven to have some usefulness in containing the virus but they are very impractical to wear especially in a setting like the high heat and humidity of Orlando.If you are unable to find the actual studies on masks, I will be happy to supply some links, but my main intention of replying to this article was simply stating my families’ plans to avoid Disney as long as the requirement exists. I suggest you do some independent research and read information that is not simply the opinion of others who may or may not have an agenda.
For example. Dr Fauci initially and many times stated that the virus was no worse than a bad flu epidemic and that masks were not effective. He changed his opinion, as I remember sometime in March to the diametric opposite.
Once again, just concerning masks, the only real protection is an N95 without the exhalation valve and, having worn them for hours at a time, no untrained adult civilian, much less a child, is going to be able to do so in the heat and humidity of a Florida summer.
Cindy, we are with you on this and will avoid Disney or any other vacation destination, as long as they mandate masks. If it means we stay home for a while, then so be it. I also prefer to look at studies and independent research, rather then opinions of individual doctors and politicians.
I will not “train” or “condition” my young children to wear masks in order to go on vacation that costs thousands of $. Even if I do, they may do it for a couple of hours, but not as long as needed on an average day out. No, thank you, toilet training and having to home-school are already enough for me.
Now, if we have to go through 15 waves of this virus and effective vaccines and medications are never developed, I will probably reconsider, but hopefully that won’t be the case.
I know that Disney agreed with its union that cast members and guests must wear masks. Is there anything in the union agreement that permits this requirement be eliminated if and when conditions change?
Hi! Thanks so much for the updates! They’ve been so great!
Do you have any ideas what is going to happen with the Disney College Program in the future? That’s a long way out, but I wanted to apply this summer and wanted to know what the chances were about it actually happening.
Hey Tom! Any news about Hilton Head? South Carolina is open in many ways but I haven’t heard a thing about the Disney resort and I have DVC reservations soon!
If you’re worried about catching covid-19, or if being around suspected covid-19 carriers, at Disney world or any other amusement or recreational park, JUST DON’T GO!! This is NOT rocket science!! DO NOT GO!! Simple.
If you’re worried about wearing a mask, at Disney world or any other amusement or recreational park, JUST DON’T GO!! This is NOT rocket science!! DO NOT GO!! Simple.
The actual issue with your position is that if you go and get infected, you’ll bring it back home and risk infecting other people, like at the grocery store for example, even those who “JUST DON’T GO” to Disney like you so eloquently suggest. It isn’t as simple as you suggest, unfortunately, because your actions have a direct impact on others if/when you get infected, since you would be contagious before you ever knew you had been infected and give it to other people who did as you suggest.
Ok, Tom, I’m now going outside to yell at a cloud (shouldn’t be hard to find one, it’s super rainy today)!
Ergo, to quote the famous cheer in “Meatballs: It just doesn’t matter!” Face it. Unless you live in a bomb shelter with filtered air and eat nothing that hasn’t been sterilized, if you live long enough, you re going to be exposed to Corona sooner or later. No matter where one goes, someone is eventually likely to have it, so go where you want to, or not. Your choice. Your responsibility. I’m happy to take whatever reasonable precautions I can to see that I don’t infect others, including properly using an effective mask and other protocols in which I have been trained, but I’m not willing to hide out at home, potentially for years, because of someone else’s fears, waiting for the perfect solution because there is none. The sooner people learn to accept this and deal with it, the better.
We had a trip planned for May 16 and rescheduled for July 11. I won’t mind following the rules and feel like this is going to be our new normal for awhile now. I’m wondering if when they reopen the parks will the pools and water parks be open? Agree 100% with treating cast members with courtesy.
I agree with you, wholeheartedly. This will be the new normal for a while with everything. The customer experience at all of the Walt Disney World Properties is bar none- the best in the world, which is why they teach it to other organizations. These cast members overall love their job and, in my experience, have always gone above and beyond in everything they do for their guests. I am positive Walt Disney Companies are innovators and are working around the clock to ensure the safety of all. I will follow the rules to mitigate spread, but we will also not stop living.
Can’t agree more with you, Tom, around communications. We had a June/July trip planned that we moved to early July. Time is ticking down to final payment. Already had our Disney Cruise cancelled after final payment was made to the cruise line. At least there will be an increased future cruise credit.
I highly doubt we’ll keep our plans in place if there are no more details from Disney. I want to make an informed decision, but who knows how the guest experience will change? Will the rates be adjusted? Don’t give a guest free dining in the future if you’re going to make them pay full price this time.
I also agree this is a dynamic, ever changing, situation, but they have to know something about how the guest experience will change.
Adam, thank you for clarifying! For people like me, without legal background or experience, it is very helpful.
What does IP stand for?
There are literally hundreds of definitions. Context is everything. For instance, it also means Internet Protocol.
Since everyone seems to have lots of time on their hands, here is a link to those definitions. It might be fun for you to look. BTW, one they missed is Initial Point: The start of a WWII strategic bombing run.
Wow! I thought that going to Disney was supposed to be fun. Wear your mask, take your hand sanitizer, and have a good time.
Bottom line – there are no easy solutions and there’s no pleasing everyone. I think DISNEY is doing the best they can at this very trying time. If for whatever reason if it does not appear to be a good time to visit, it is what it is. As excited as we all are to go enjoy a semblance of past carefree visits, I’m sure no entity is more ready to return to “normal” than DISNEY.
Thank you for the updates. I’m glad things are moving forward and I can’t wait to hear the news about the opening of Disney World. Thank you for bringing up treatment of Cast Members. All of the rules will make their jobs very challenging and it would be nice if Guests could be extra kind to them. The stress they will be under might weigh less heavily if Guests went out of their way to show appreciation to Cast Members.
“ The stress they will be under might weigh less heavily if Guests went out of their way to show appreciation to Cast Members.”
The stress I’m going through as someone who’s paying A LOT of money to go there kinda outweighs that. Sorry. I’m just tired of reading sentiments like this that states cast members are more important that money paying guests. Isn’t it their job to make ME happy? Disney has their priorities really screwed up.
No one is saying that cast members are more important than money-paying guests.
However, I will say this: the “I’m paying A LOT of money to be here and it’s your job to make ME happy” attitude nicely summarizes exactly what’s wrong with so many Walt Disney World guests. I’d counter that Disney screwed up its priorities in enabling this kind of mentality and not having the backs of Cast Members when confronted by guests expressing this kind of entitlement. It has lowered morale, thereby making the experience worse for everyone.
I agree with Mallory1984 and also Tom’s reply to Kelly D about way too many WDW guests being way too entitled. I feel bad for the cast members having to deal with those with Auntiegravity’s mindset. If you happen to be the next guest to interact with a cast member after someone like that berates them, maybe apologize on behalf of humanity.
Something else to consider in this pandemic….
Disease is the great equalizer. No matter how much money you have and how important you think that makes you, you can’t buy your way out of death. IMHO Disney’s priorities are where they should be.
I’ll go you one better on people’s “Happiness” bit. Only you can make you happy. Sure, there is a certain level of service one expects for one’s money, but having made friends with several cast members over the years, most people have no idea what they go through at the whims of “guests.”
For example, we know one who was pretty severely injured when a “guest” hit them with a scooter (A device I think has no place in the park except under very special circumstances.) and knocked them into a lamppost.
I’m with you Tom. The idea that cast members exist merely to serve the particular needs of various individuals is beginning to become irritating. How do people think that Disney Cast are feeling about all of the new rules they will have to observe and still try their best to please the customer? Or doesn’t anyone care?
It’s obvious that auntiegravity is the kind of person who is rude and feels entitled wherever they go . I’ve seen some nasty ass people at Disney world. Jaw dropping nastiness. I only hope that my apologies to the cast members on the nastiness mean something. I don’t go out of my way to show appreciation, well, I do, but that’s another story, I just realize they have a job to do and my bitching at them just makes it harder for them and me! Maybe I have more empathy for them cause I work at dmv, and believe me I know nasty, entitled, assholes! auntiegravity being right up there on the list!
Thank you Tom for you’re response to this. I absolutely agree with you. When I saw what Auntiegravity had wrote very early this morning, there was not yet a response to her from anyone. I didn’t trust myself enough to put her in her place because I was so disgusted at the time I would have probably been blocked from ever commenting again. This kind of attitude is a problem at the parks on both coasts. Thank you for calling it out.
Kinda makes you wonder what became of Unclegravity. Maybe he ran off with one of the Princesses? That would explain a lot.
So if parking is limited and I can’t park ( for my dining reservation) can I go park elsewhere and Uber in? Will we get in that way?
Keep in mind that the two garages are GIGANTIC and there are literally zero tourists staying at Walt Disney World right now. It’s theoretically possible that people will drive from all over the South to visit Disney Springs, filling both garages in the process, but that seems highly unlikely. Disney Springs would be uncomfortably crowded–wall to wall people with no social distancing possible.
I’m surprised by their COVID liability limitation. I think all businesses will be doing this, and rightly so, but theirs only mentions COVID. Does this mean they plan to indemnify me if I come down with a non-COVID infectious disease– maybe catch a cold or stomach flu while visiting? Also, I think you can come down with it any place where people are present. Private or public.
That’s where causation and assumption of risk come into play. First, how are you going to prove you caught a cold at Walt Disney World and not one of the many other places you visited? (And in that case, what are your damages?)
Second, the risk of catching a cold by being out and about in crowded places is pretty well known. Warning or not, did you assume that risk by visiting Walt Disney World?
It really comes down to a “reasonable duty” which is largely established by the consensus of what others do.
A big example is slip and fall on snow and ice. You have a duty to keep your front steps free of ice and snow. If someone slips on the ice and snow on your front step, you can be successfully sued. But what if it JUST snowed 5 minutes ago? What if it iced overnight and someone slipped at 5am, before you even woke up?
That’s where we get into “reasonableness”.
A common cold…. Businesses don’t reasonably take significant precautions against the common cold.
On the other hand, with Covid… lots of businesses are taking precautions. So if you don’t take similar precautions to those being taken by others, then a jury could find you didn’t act reasonably.
As to causation… I see too many people assuming causation must be proven definitively. It’s not a criminal case. Plaintiff just barely has a burden of proof.
Let’s say I visit Disney… a few days later, I test positive for Covid. I get an infectious disease expert who will testify under oath that I probably caught Covid at Disney.
That’s good enough — I met by burden. I proved I caught it at Disney. Now Disney has to prove I didn’t catch it at Disney.
And then it goes to a jury — I have an expert who says based on the timing, based on my contacts, and everything else, I most likely caught Covid at Disney.
Disney puts forward an expert that says I probably caught it somewhere else. But then their expert admits I had far more risky contacts at Disney then on the drive home.
So a jury says, which side proved 51%?
As to the “waiver” — Disney sets up protection and risk at the same time. In the announcement, they broadcast they have taken precautions. So while they are saying, “you accept the risk” — they are also saying, “we have worked to reduce the risk”
So, you can still sue them, if they didn’t actually reasonably work to reduce the risk. Now, if they took tons or reasonable steps to reduce the risk.. and you still got infected, then they could probably successfully point to the waiver.
I agree with Tom to the extent that I think it would be a particularly difficult uphill battle, but Adam does a good job laying this out a bit further. Seeing comments on message boards and by other (non-legally trained) bloggers that don’t understand these basics can be frustrating. I think Tom’s point about causation would be also not just causation as to where someone got the virus, but that the negligence that Adam refers to was a cause of the infection. Given that Disney is going above and beyond, I do think it would be hard to pin it on them when it’s clear that they are telling you to enter at your own risk and they’re not relying solely on that, but also taking reasonable (or more) precautions to try to protect guests and employees.
There is a certain risk by establishing stringent procedures though – if they are saying they are necessary to try to protect guests and employees, but then don’t enforce the procedures properly, it would be easier to pin them as negligent – since they’ve already established them as necessary precautions. Because of that, selfishly, I really hope they are diligent in enforcing the protocols. With a trip scheduled in August that obviously may or may not even be possible, if everything is open (parks, resorts, interstate travel without quarantine, etc.), one of my fears are those who feel ignoring restrictions in place for the benefit of others is some kind of badge of honor.
Last, since we have a bit of a legal rabbit hole here, the one area that never gets mentioned for potential liability (which may not even be the case in FL) is a business/landowners liability for the foreseeable intentional actions of third parties. Businesses can be responsible, for example, for an assault by a drunk person at an event that it is reasonable to foresee violence breaking out (think concert, sporting event, etc. – where the level of security in yellow jackets is evidence that they believe it’s possible); a mugging in a poorly lit parking lot; etc. I’m thinking for Disney of the person who says screw the rules – I’m going to take my mask off, get too close to everyone else, etc. (or even the crazy people you read about who start coughing on people on purpose, licking things – bleh!) – I think it unlikely that someone could show they got sick and were around someone like that and somehow connect acquiring it to that, but it would probably at least be a basis for a claim.
Wow, can’t believe I just typed all that – I’m such a nerd. Ha!