Disney will require all guests to wear masks indoors as of Friday at its two major theme parks, reimposing the policy after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated persons should cover up in places with high transmission.
The policy at Disney World near Orlando, Florida, and Disneyland in Anaheim, California, applies to persons over age 2 inside buildings or buses, monorail and Disney Skyliner gondolas — regardless of vaccination status — although masks remain optional outdoors.
It also applies to employees, who are dubbed “cast members.”
Disney allowed guests to shed their masks in June but reversed course as the delta variant threatens a nationwide setback in the pandemic fight.
Disneyland is in Orange County, California, which is recording 95 cases per 100,000 residents — meaning it has a “substantial” risk of transmission and would fall under the new CDC guidelines.
In Florida, Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings declared a state of local emergency and urged individuals and businesses to follow CDC guidance.
“I urge residents and visitors — vaccinated and unvaccinated — to wear a mask while indoors and to follow updated CDC guidelines,” he tweeted.
The CDC revised its mask guidance after it gathered data suggesting vaccinated people, in rare instances, could transmit the delta variant of the virus to others.
Hospitalizations in Orange County have risen 116% over the past two weeks, according to The New York Times. Florida is seeing some of the biggest coronavirus surges in the country.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has generally resisted mask mandates, especially for children.
“Forcing kids to wear masks is bad policy. Parents are best equipped to decide whether they want their kids to wear a mask in school,” he tweeted. “Neither bureaucrats in Washington nor local authorities should be able to override the decision of the parents.”