Editor’s note: This post has been updated with additional information.
On Friday evening, Walt Disney World released the news park-goers had been waiting for: As of June 15, guests who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks in “most areas.”
The mask-optional policy (for the fully vaccinated) covers both indoor and outdoor areas of the park, excluding Disney transportation (buses, monorails, and the Disney Skyliner). Non-vaccinated guests are still asked to wear face coverings while indoors and outdoors.
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Florida currently has a ban on businesses and government agencies in the state requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination, so guests won’t be required to show a vaccine card or passport. However, unvaccinated guests are expected to comply with the current policy to help keep themselves, other guests and employees safe throughout their visit.
Disney World was not far behind Universal Orlando when it rolled back mask requirements for guests while outdoors, but until today, it had yet to announce a change in its indoor mask policy.
Related: Is now a good time to visit Disney World?
After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance in May that those who are vaccinated can safely cease wearing masks in most situations, many theme parks began rolling back mask mandates.
Almost immediately, Hersheypark dropped its masking rules for guests who are fully vaccinated. Then Las Vegas casinos also stopped requiring vaccinated guests to wear masks, and Universal Orlando and Disney World were close to follow with an announcement that guests could go maskless while outside (with some important caveats).
On May 29, Universal Studios confirmed to TPG that face coverings would no longer be required indoors or outdoors for fully vaccinated guests, saying “While we will not require proof of vaccination, we do expect our guests to comply with this revised policy and to use face coverings if they have not been vaccinated. The health and safety of our guests and team members remains our top priority as we continue our thoughtful return to regular operations.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order earlier in May canceling remaining local COVID-19 restrictions – including mask mandates in public areas, but privately-owned businesses can still require masks on their property. Disney and Universal Orlando both phased out temperature checks at entry points, and as more U.S. residents become vaccinated and CDC guidelines continue to evolve as we head into summer, have continued to roll back on policies such as mask mandates.
Additional reporting by Summer Hull and Madison Blancaflor.
Featured image by Machado Noa/LightRocket/Getty Images.
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