Latest news about changing rules: Disney World will require masks again
“The most magical place on Earth” is getting a dose of reality. Disney World is changing its rules about face masks once again. The latest news about the theme park’s new policy is that all visitors, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear masks while indoors. The new policy went into effect on July 30th.
This news comes just weeks after Disney lifted a similar mask mandate. On June 5th, the park announced that it would no longer require masks indoors. This reversal of course comes after guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that people continue to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.
The latest rule change
Disney has re-imposed their mask mandate for all guests aged two or older. The park’s rules about masks have changed multiple times since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Guests will have to wear masks indoors & on all forms of transportation at the park. Masks will remain optional in all outdoor common areas.
The news comes as the highly contagious delta variant has caused coronavirus infections to rise sharply. Florida has seen COVID-19 cases surge in recent months. The CDC announced that even fully vaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks indoors if they live in places with higher than average coronavirus transmission.
The CDC’s recommendations suggest that vaccinated people can reduce their risk of contracting a breakthrough infection as well as spreading the virus. The vaccine has proven effective at limiting hospitalizations & death though the threat of the delta variant has many worrying.
Florida mask mandate
The mayor of Orange County, where Disney World is located, recently said that they are in “crisis mode” as COVID-19 cases spiked dramatically. Last week, Orange County recorded 1,371 new infections, a single-day record for the county.
“The numbers are extraordinary. We are seeing nearly 1,000 new cases in Orange County daily. Those are the numbers we saw at the highest peak last year,” mayor Jerry Demings said at a recent news conference. Demings recently required all county employees to get the first dose of the vaccine by August 31st.
The CDC urged students & teachers to wear masks when the school year in Florida begins in early August. Florida governor Ron DeSantis recently signed an executive order banning school systems from creating their own mask mandates. The order overrules a school mask mandate passed by Florida’s Broward & Gadsden counties.
DeSantis claimed that parents should decide whether or not their children should wear a mask in school. The Florida Education Association challenged his decision, suggesting that the determinations should be made by local authorities.
Disney theme parks closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney World reopened its doors in July of that year with operations at limited capacity. Masks were mandatory indoors & outdoors for all guests. Temperature checks were required for entry and shows & events that drew large crowds were cancelled.
In the following months, the resort increased guest capacity incrementally. The park gradually phased out temperature checks. On May 13th, 2021, Disney lifted outdoor mask mandates in accordance with the CDC’s guidelines.
The Walt Disney Company has taken a strong stance about vaccinations recently. The company ordered all employees in the United States to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The mandates about masks & vaccines have been met with resistance from conservatives who believe their individual freedoms are being violated.
About 49% of the population of Florida is fully vaccinated. Some suggest that the real number may be lower due to a large number of snowbirds, people from the northeast who only live in Florida for a few months out of the year. These numbers become even more complicated as travel to Canada was recently reopened and vaccinated Canadians living in Florida may return home.
What do you think of Disney’s new policy? Are you comfortable going out in public places without a mask? Sound off in the comments below!