Florida theme park introduces 'skunk ape' mascot to promote social distancing

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That’s one way to make people social distance.

Several theme parks in Florida were recently given the go-ahead to reopen after closing to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Due to the ongoing situation, however, many of these parks are enacting new policies to promote the health and safety of their customers, with a focus on social distancing.

One theme park, however, is taking things a step further.

Gatorland, a theme park and wildlife preserve in Orlando, Fla., introduced a new mascot for the park: the Social Distancing Skunk Ape. Unlike traditional mascots, this particular character is seemingly dedicated to keeping people away as opposed to drawing large crowds.

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The mascot is based on a mythical creature that some people believe lives in the Florida area (although sightings have also been reported in Arkansas and North Carolina). As the name suggests, the skunk ape is supposedly a foul-smelling creature that occasionally makes appearances in blurry photographs.

Aside from the addition of a mythical creature to its staff, Gatorland has implemented several new features and policies to maintain guest health and safety, Fox 35 reports.

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The park has reduced its capacity for all rides, food venues and retail shops to allow guests to maintain a safe distance from each other. Physical markings have been added to various areas of the park to show guests the proper distance to maintain from each other.

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Employees will also receive health checks and guests must agree that they do not have a fever, cough or other symptoms of COVID-19 before entering the park.

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