Yesterday we reported on the story of a man who was charged with misdemeanor battery after he made a coronavirus joke in front of a cast member at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The joke escalated into a fight, which led to Spectacular Blue Smith of the hip-hop group Pretty Ricky allegedly punching the cast member. This sort of event is certainly more the exception than the rule. There has been surprising little news coming out of Florida theme parks as it regards issues with coronavirus, but it turns out that other theme parks, like Universal Orlando Resort, and LEGOland have also had to deal with their share of physical violence in the age of social distancing.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that two women started shoving each other while in line for the Revenge of the Mummy attraction. An argument apparently broke out over how fast the socially distanced line was moving, and whether or not people were keeping the required six foot distance between parties. At LEGOland, a nine-month-old baby reportedly pulled down her father's mask, which led to a comment by somebody else in line. Tensions escalated at the mother of the child allegedly pushed the other women into the bushes.
While incidents like these are certainly concerning, a spokesman for Universal Orlando Resort assured the Orlando Sentinel, that these are isolated incidents and that the vast majority of guests have been great about dealing with the new health and safety guidelines. According to Universal spokesman Tom Schroder...
The overwhelming majority of our guests have been great. They understand the need, support us by doing their part and tell us they feel comfortable while in our parks.
While some places like California have been extremely cautious around theme parks and the pandemic, and thus Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyland have remained closed since March, the Florida counterparts of those parks due seem to be doing quite well as there have been no major issues surrounding the virus itself. However, it does seem like the situation might be leading to encounters like these. While these are all anecdotal, we are hearing about physical violence at theme parks more frequently than we usually do, though it certainly does happen, which might indicate that all the guests are a bit more on edge than usual.
Still, those same anecdotal reports, like the Universal spokesman's statement, would seem to indicate that despite the fact that theme parks are still a place where you're more likely to be in a crowd, people are happy to wear masks and social distance if it means being able to have that fun again. At the end of the day, being asked to wear a mask is a small price to pay to be able to visit your favorite theme park.