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Home Breaking news Meet Gatorland's Skunk Ape, the social distancing mascot

Meet Gatorland’s Skunk Ape, the social distancing mascot

(CNN) — Depart it to a Florida destination to provide you with one of many weirdest — and most joyous methods — to assist folks hold their social distance.
The oldsters at Gatorland have launched Skunk Ape. And this mascot’s purpose is to assist the animal park’s guests get a little bit kick out of sustaining social distancing.
The park, which reopened on Saturday in Orange County, has a video on YouTube introducing Social Distancing Skunk Ape (his full, correct identify).
They usually clarify a few of their coronavirus measures in one of the imaginative security efforts that CNN Travel has run throughout through the pandemic.

‘Enjoyable and security’

The video truly opens with a vivacious, pig-tailed, hat-wearin’ spokeswoman who says the park’s aim is “enjoyable and security.”

She then makes enthusiastic use of a hand sanitizer station, calling it “hanitizer,” and factors out a security signal “that claims a bunch of stuff.”

Subsequent, she awkwardly however endearingly introduces the “king of protecting away from one another, the Social Distancing Skunk Ape.”

At this level, the digicam pans to what seems to be Bigfoot kind creature lurking in dense Florida foliage. Skunk Ape then disappears within the greenery, solely to emerge later breaking apart two males who strolling too carefully collectively. The transfer is one thing The Three Stooges might admire.

The spokeswoman’s touch upon the melee: “He is insistent that you simply keep distant!” And that is just the start of her rhyming reminders.

The video even contains a notable rest room flush and an look by Skunk Ape and the spokeswoman in a males’s restroom.

Like we stated, very Florida!

Origins story

Comply with security protocols at Gatorland — Social Distancing Skunk Ape has his eyes on you!


Mark McHugh, president and CEO of Gatorland, informed CNN Journey in an e-mail interview how Skunk Ape got here to be.

“We developed a Skunk Ape character and costume for our Halloween program final yr. A neighborhood morning radio present persona, Carlos Navarro, with Actual Radio 104.1, was speaking about every little thing we have been doing at Gatorland for security, and recommended we use a Social Distancing Skunk Ape.

“My social media director, Savannah Boan, and I checked out one another with extensive eyes and stated, ‘THAT’S IT!’ We started instantly growing a marketing campaign round this bushy fella.”

Gatorland plans to maintain Skunk Ape round.

“The Skunk Ape is a part of our Gatorland household, and he can be with us for a few years,” McHugh stated. “His position as Covid-19 security supervisor will prolong not less than by means of the summer time. He is all the time making an attempt to advance up the company ladder.”

How are park guests reacting to him?

They “are usually not positive what to consider him. For one factor, he is fairly bushy, grunts so much and takes his job a bit critically,” McHugh stated.

“Plus, of us are usually not used to companies taking a light-hearted method to implementing vital security measures, so it takes a minute or two for company to comprehend we’re having enjoyable.”

CNN Journey wished to know a little bit extra in regards to the man contained in the costume:

“Proper now, we now have one particular person, John Michael Carro, who’s the son of my inventive director, Dan Carro.

“John Michael is spectacular on the position, and we give him frequent breaks, ice packs beneath the swimsuit and plenty of water. He’ll most likely lose 10 to 15 kilos this summer time.”

A severe security message, too

Behind the Skunk Ape marketing campaign lies a severe security message. Gatorland has posted its security efforts on-line, and so they embrace:

— All queues have been marked for distancing from admissions and rides to reveals and meals venues.

— Capacities on rides and somewhere else have have lowered.

— Workers get a temperature test earlier than work and should put on face masks. Friends are “inspired” to put on face coverings as effectively.

— Rides, present seating and different surfaces are disinfected after every use.

“We’re very severe about security, and we now have applied an amazing quantity of bodily and operational modifications to make sure the security of our company and workers,” McHugh stated.

“However folks wish to get away from the fixed reminders of face masks, social distancing and sanitizers. So, whereas every little thing is working within the background to maintain folks protected, the Social Distancing Skunk Ape is fulfilling our mission of making enjoyable,” he stated.

Different points of interest within the space

Disney Springs in Florida opened this week with strong safety measures in place.

Disney Springs in Florida opened this week with robust security measures in place.

John Raoux/AP

Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs and Common Orlando’s CityWalk — each buying, eating and leisure complexes — have not too long ago reopened with stringent security efforts.

These embrace limits of the variety of folks allowed in, social distancing indicators and floor markers and plenty of hand sanitizing stations.

Universal Orlando introduced on Friday that it plans to open to most people on June 5. Friends can be required to put on a face masking throughout their go to. The park will present masks if the guests do not convey one in every of their very own.

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