Cedar Point is changing its COVID-19 safeguards in 2021, most notably weakening its requirements for face masks while inside the park.

In a Monday morning post on its website, Cedar Point announced that face masks will now only be required for guests aged 10 years and older while indoors or in outdoor spaces where it is not possible to maintain physical distancing. Face coverings will be recommended, but no longer required on rides.

The same guidelines are being adopted at sister Ohio park Kings Island

The changes go further than any other major theme park. Dollywood and Silver Dollar City recently announced that guests can go maskless in outdoor areas while staying six feet away from other parties, but masks are still required on rides and in queues. 

Only requiring masks to be worn by guests aged 10 years and older is unique among theme park operators. Most parks had adopted the standard of requiring all guests 2 and up to wear a face covering during the pandemic. 

While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that most children have either mild or no symptoms when infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, there have been rare cases of severe disease and death among that age group, and those kids can still pass the virus onto others — though they do not appear to be major drivers of transmission. 

Furthermore, no COVID-19 vaccines are currently authorized for use in this younger population. According to the Ohio Department of Health, 39 percent of the state’s adult population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Other changes to Cedar Point policies include:

  • No more temperature checks
  • No limits on ride capacity, though physical distancing in queue will remain in place
  • The health screening questionnaire will be conducted at the entrance gates, not on the Cedar Point mobile app

The park had previously announced that reservations will once be required for visitors to manage limited capacity.

Face mask rules have sparked contentious debates in the theme park world over the past year. While nearly all parks have required them — even in the absence of local mandates — at least one park owner, John Arie Sr. of Fun Spot America, promoted anti-face mask misinformation at the same time that inspections of his Orlando park found that face mask requirements were not being enforced.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated after publication to reflect that the same mask policies are being implemented at Kings Island.