If you’re going to Disney World, you will have to mask up.
Starting Friday, Disney guests will have to wear masks while indoors and on resort transportation, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are optional when outside, and visitors younger than 2 will not be required to wear a mask.
The updated guidelines, announced by the theme park Wednesday night, are in alignment with the CDC’s latest recommendations on mask wearing following a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases due to transmission of the delta variant. On Tuesday, the agency updated its guidance to urge fully vaccinated people to wear masks while indoors in areas of high COVID-19 transmission. CDC data shows Orange County is located in an area of high transmission.
Disney’s updated mask policy reverses its June guidelines that allowed vaccinated guests to go maskless in most places in the resort. After it re-opened in July 2020 following a COVID-19 hiatus, Walt Disney World required guests to wear masks throughout the resort, but Disney relaxed the mandate June 15.
Until Friday, guests will operate under the same procedures: masks are optional for fully vaccinated guests in most areas except on resort transportation, including the Skyliner, monorail and buses. Guests who are not fully vaccinated are expected to wear face coverings while indoors and upon entering attractions and transportation, per Disney’s guidelines. Disney does not require proof of visitor vaccination.
Disney’s announcement came the same day Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings reinstated a state of emergency due to high COVID-19 transmission.
Orange County shattered its daily COVID-19 infection record Tuesday, logging 1,371 new COVID-19 infections over a single day, and county wastewater samples show indications of high transmission.
Employees and visitors are now required to wear masks inside county facilities, and Demings urged private businesses to require employees and patrons to wear masks while indoors.
Citing state restrictions, Demings did not issue a county-wide mandate for residents and visitors. State legislation that came into effect earlier this month restricts municipal emergency orders and allows the governor, and county commissioners, to overturn them.
“I’m taking the action that I believe is legally defensible today,” Demings said.
David Harris and Katie Rice, Orlando Sentinel