The delta variant of COVID seems to be taking over the entire country and the CDC recently updated its recommendations, asking people to again start wearing masks indoors due to the uptick in COVID-19 cases throughout the USA.
Florida in particular is currently one of the hottest hot spots in the country. With local COVID-19 positivity rates close to 16% of those tested (1,371 new infections were reported for July 27th – a new high for a single day), Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings recently declared a state of emergency. Following CDC guidelines, he also urged residents and visitors to wear masks indoors when around others (thanks to a newly passed Florida state law, municipal Florida government officials aren’t allowed to institute mask mandates or other means to keep their citizens safe from COVID.)
And now the big guns have come out – Walt Disney World (WDW) will again require masks while indoors and on resort transportation, effective Friday, July 30th.
When WDW reopened in July 2020 after 4 months of self-imposed COVID-related closures, all guests were required to wear face masks while on Disney property at all times, unless they were sitting (or standing still and socially distanced) to eat and drink, were in a designated mask-free zone, or were in their hotel rooms.
As COVID vaccines were steadily made available to more people and COVID cases were decreasing this spring, Disney had begun relaxing most of its mask rules for guests who were fully vaccinated. By June 2021, guests who were vaccinated could remain mask-free except on resort transportation, while those who were not fully vaccinated were expected to wear masks when indoors, on attractions and transportation.
But now, with 20% of the country’s new COVID cases coming out of Florida, and mayor Demings’ state of emergency, WDW has decided to reinstate its mask rules.
Meanwhile, on the west coast, the State of California is following the CDC’s lead and recommending individuals wear masks indoors. Subsequently, Disneyland’s website has similar verbiage to WDW’s and the same rules regarding face coverings will go into effect on July 30th.
We are adapting our health and safety guidelines based on guidance from health and government officials, and will require Cast Members and Guests ages 2 and up, to wear face coverings in all indoor locations at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort beginning Friday, July 30, regardless of vaccination status. At Walt Disney World Resort, this includes upon entering and throughout all attractions and in enclosed transportation vehicles, including shuttles, buses, monorails and at Disney Skyliner.
Disney has announced no end date of the new mask ruling at this time.
From a public health point of view, it’s definitely the best thing that can be done right now, short of re-closing the parks.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary