Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Universal Studios and SeaWorld are not following Disney in bringing back mask requirements

Are you thinking of going to a theme park? You won’t need your face mask if Mickey Mouse isn’t around.

The House of Mouse stated earlier this week that guests to Disney DIS theme parks in the United States would be forced to wear face masks in all indoor areas, regardless of whether or not they are properly vaccinated. Beginning Friday, the reintroduced mask requirement will apply to all visitors aged two and up.

“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,” a Disney spokesperson said.

The masks must have two layers, totally cover the nose and mouth, and fit tightly on the sides of the face, according to Disney’s regulation. Guests are not permitted to wear neck gaiters, triangular bandanas, or face masks with valves or mesh material at Disney.

Visitors must wear face masks when in line for and on rides and attractions, on theme park transportation such as monorails and buses, and at restaurants, except when actively eating or drinking, as long as the rule remains in effect. Masks will not be needed in outdoor areas or at pools, and they will not be permitted when riding water slides or swimming.

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Other theme parks have yet to follow Disney’s example in requiring masks for visitors. Starting Saturday, staff at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, which includes the Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure amusement parks, will be required to wear facial covers in interior visitor areas. However, this condition does not apply to park visitors.

“The health and safety of our guests and team members is always our top priority,” a Universal Orlando spokeswoman said. “We encourage all our guests to follow CDC guidelines and local directives to wear face coverings while indoors across our destination.”

(In line with Los Angeles County standards, Universal Studios Hollywood does require face masks to be worn when within.)

Face masks are not necessary for fully vaccinated guests at SeaWorld’s venues in Orlando, San Diego, or San Antonio, according to a statement on the company’s websites.

The decision by Disney to reinstate the face-mask restriction comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its recommendations, stating that even fully vaccinated persons should wear face masks inside in public settings in regions with high COVID-19 transmission rates. The revised recommendations follow findings that the vaccinations may be less effective at preventing infection with the delta form of the virus that causes COVID-19.

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