Disney Reimposes Mask Mandate for Visitors and Cast Members

Disney Reimposes Mask Mandate for Visitors and Cast Members

Disneyland and Walt Disney World have announced that cast members and all visitors over two will once more have to wear face coverings in all indoor venues.

Disney dropped its indoor mask mandate in mid-June for all vaccinated guests, but the growing threat of the Delta variant and the resultant rise in cases of Covid-19 has forced the company’s hand.

This means that from Friday, face coverings must be work onboard all enclosed resort transportation, through indoor queue lines, on attractions, inside retail shops and at any indoor restaurants unless actively eating or drinking.

State of Emergency

Mayor Jerry Demings of Orange County announced a local state of emergency on Wednesday, 28 July.

“What that means is this: I will now urge our residents and visitors, vaccinated and unvaccinated to wear a mass when in an indoor space with others,” he said.

“We want our residents, businesses and visitors to follow the updated CDC guidelines to make sure there won’t be another shutdown like we experienced last year.”

The mayor confirmed that the county was witnessing in excess of 1,000 new cases a day, “numbers we saw at the highest peak last year,” he said in a news conference the day before.

60% Vaccination Rate

Although over 60% of Orange County residents over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of a vaccine, it’s Orlando’s popularity as the ‘Theme Park Capital of the World’ that is of greatest concern, as around 70 million visitors travel to the area every year.

Pandemic P0litics

Mayor Demings also has to contend with Governor Ron deSantis’ SB1924 law, which came into force in May and puts strict criteria on the local imposition of emergency orders, including only applying them in seven-day increments and obliging local governments to “satisfy demanding and continuous justifications” for those orders to extend further, but only to a maximum of 42 days.

It also gives the governor the power to invalidate a local emergency order. Last week, Demings complained that his hands were tied in his efforts to deal with rising cases.

At a national level, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has put out new guidance on the wearing of face coverings indoors even for vaccinated people in response to the Delta variant crisis.

Its updated county-by-county national map shows that the major theme park areas in southern California and central Florida fall into the “high transmission” category, including Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties in California as well as the entire state of Florida.

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Fionn Davenport is the editor-in-chief of the ITTN group, including ITTN and ITTN Ireland. He's one of Ireland's best-known travel journalists and writers, with nearly 30 years' experience writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet and others.

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