KSCVC to temporarily close due to COVID-19 concerns, launches currently set to continue
On March 16, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC) will join the growing list of major central-Florida entertainment and amusement properties which have temporarily closed in consideration of the health risks associated with COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.
The park areas of Walt Disney Resort, Seaworld and Universal Orlando – and many others – will also be closed to visitors as of Monday, although some resort hotels will be staying open for guests. Specific to the Space Coast, the Brevard County Government on Saturday declared a local state of emergency, in alignment with similar declarations made by the President of the United States and Governor of Florida. At the time of declaration, Brevard County officials stated that there were still no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, although they were continuing to work closely with Florida Department of Health to monitor the progression of the situation.
Behind the scenes however, work on the cape is continuing. SpaceX teams are completing preparations ahead of their Sunday morning (9:22 am eastern) launch of the Starlink-5 mission, the sixth 60-satellite launch of the program. Due to depart from launch pad 39-A, this will be the first time that a Falcon 9 first stage has flown five times.
With respect to the closure, what is unclear to many is how long these temporary closures might last. Of particular note, many planned events relating to the upcoming 50th anniversary of the famed Apollo 13 mission are due to be very popular and would be expected to be well attended, but there is no guarantee that KSCVC will be able to safely reopen to the public by that time.
As part of their announcement, KSCVC leadership asserted their ongoing commitment to the health and safety of employees and guests alike, stating that “when it is deemed safe for guests to return, the entire facility will be cleaned and sanitized prior to re-opening. This will include Kennedy Space Center Tour buses, all attractions, eateries and theaters at the main campus and at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.”
Brevard County residents may call 2-1-1 for up-to-date information about the virus and state of emergency between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily. For calls after hours, contact the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 call center at 866-779-6121. The call center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The full KSCVC release follows:
Sean Costello is a technology professional who also researches, writes about and speaks publicly on the inspiring lessons within international space flight program. Prior to joining SpaceFlight Insider in early 2014, Costello was a freelance photographer and correspondent covering shuttle-era Kennedy Space Center launches for various radio and print news organizations.