Disney World and Universal Orlando made masks optional outdoors this week, the latest effort from the Florida theme parks to ease pandemic-era restrictions.
Disney World said park goers do not have to wear masks "in outdoor common areas," but added they are still required "upon entering and throughout all attractions, theaters, and transportation."
At Universal Orlando, masks will not be required outdoors, including for outdoor character photos. However, they are required "while at indoor locations, indoor hotel public areas and at all attractions," including when in line. Vaccinated visitors are also required to wear a mask indoors.
The updated park rules come after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated Americans do not need to cover their faces outdoors. Last week, the agency went further, saying those who got the jab can go maskless in many indoor situations.
The CDC still recommends unvaccinated Americans wear their masks both indoors and in several outdoor situations. However, neither Disney World nor Universal Orlando has made an exception for unvaccinated visitors.
SeaWorld Orlando and its sister park, Busch Gardens Tampa, changed their rules for fully vaccinated park goers, saying masks would no longer be required at all for guests who got the jab "in accordance with CDC guidance." The parks will not require proof of vaccination, but have instead asked "our guests to respectfully comply with our revised policy."
The updated guidance also comes as Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order earlier this month "suspending all remaining local government mandates and restrictions based on the COVID-19 State of Emergency." DeSantis has also banned businesses in Florida from requiring customers to show they're vaccinated to receive service.
The mask policy change represents the latest effort to ease restrictions at both Disney World and Universal Orlando, which have each discontinued temperature checks upon entry. It also comes a month after Disney said Florida park goers could ditch their masks for outdoor photo ops.
While theme parks in Florida are taking steps away from COVID-19-era protocols, face masks are still required at California's Disneyland Resort as well as at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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