If you’re going to Walt Disney World this weekend, make sure to pack a mask because everyone will have to wear them while indoors at the park starting Friday.
On Wednesday, Disney World announced all guests — vaccinated or not — over the age of 2 will have to wear masks while indoors and on Disney transportation. The transportation includes buses, the monorail and Disney Skyliner. Masks still won’t be required outdoors, at least for now.
It had been a month of very minimal COVID safety requirements at the park prior to Disney World returning to pandemic policies.
In June, Disney lifted most of its mask mandates, only requiring facial coverings in Disney buses, monorails and Disney Skyliner for vaccinated guests who were free to go maskless everywhere else. Unvaccinated guests were asked to wear masks indoors and on transportation.
The mask rollback comes amid an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases in Florida due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended new mask policies for indoor settings.
On Tuesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the agency recommended fully vaccinated people should wear masks in public indoor settings and in areas with “substantial and high transmission,” including schools, to help prevent the spread of the delta variant.
Orange County, the home of Disney World and other major theme park attractions such as Universal Orlando Resort, is regarded as a place of high community transmission by the CDC, according to its website.
Also on Wednesday, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings had reinstated a state of emergency in the county due to high rates of COVID-19 transmission, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Florida on Tuesday had reported 16,308 new cases to the federal government, the seventh day of new daily cases over 12,000 and one of the highest single day increases since January.
Meanwhile in Miami-Dade County, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced that people will once again have to wear masks in county facilities, including in libraries, recreational centers and county-owned entertainment venues.
“The numbers are clear,” Levine Cava said at a press conference. “We hope that businesses will do the right thing.”