Disney theme parks say face masks are now optional for vaccinated visitors
The Walt Disney Company says it's lifting the majority of its indoor mask requirements for vaccinated guests at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks.Starting Thursday, the company says face coverings will be optional for fully vaccinated guests in its indoor and outdoor park spaces, according to Disney World and Disneylandwebsites.Due to "recent trends and regulatory guidance," Disney said its California and Florida resorts will begin easing health and safety protocols. Disney World and Disneyland do not require proof of vaccination to enter.However, the company said that guests who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear their face coverings in all indoor locations, such as indoor attractions and theaters."We expect guests who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations, including indoor attractions and theaters," the company said.Both Disney World and Disneyland required guests ages 2 and older to wear masks indoors since July 2021 — a precaution the parks took against the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.Disney's change in its mask policy comes after Universal Orlando in Florida lifted its indoor and outdoor mask requirements for fully vaccinated guests. The new guidelines went into effect on Saturday. Guests who have not yet been vaccinated will be encouraged to wear masks while indoors, Universal Orlando said.Disney theme parks closed in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the U.S. Disney World reopened in July 2020 with social distancing and mask requirements. Disneyland reopened in early 2021.As of Wednesday, several states have elected to lift their statewide mask mandates as COVID cases and hospitalizations decrease. In California, the state ended its indoor mask mandate for those vaccinated on Tuesday. Counties and municipalities in California are allowed to implement stricter rules than the state's. Florida recommends face coverings for the general public but currently does not have a statewide mask mandate. Businesses, however, have the right to decide on their own mask requirements. Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.