Dollywood and Silver Dollar City will now allow guests to remove face masks while in outdoor spaces where physical distancing can be maintained.
The two Herschend Family Entertainment parks are not going mask-free. Face coverings will still be required while inside, on rides, in queues or in the parks’ ticketing areas. Additionally, employees will still wear masks “at all times while on the property,” according to the updated policies on the Dollywood and Silver Dollar City websites.
“As knowledge about COVID-19 has evolved, the CDC updated its recommendations and guidelines related to COVID-19,” the parks’ COVID-19 FAQ page states. “We are confident that our updated policies, which follow the CDC’s guidelines, will make our properties even more accessible while maintaining a safe and family-friendly environment.”
Another entry on the FAQ states that, “The current CDC guidelines state that as long as six feet of distance can be maintained between parties outdoors, it is safe to not wear a mask.” The exact wording of the CDC guidelines, updated on April 6, is “Masks may not be necessary when you are outside by yourself away from others, or with people who live in your household.”
In a statement to Theme Park Tribune, Dollywood spokesperson Wes Ramey said:
“With the recent adjustments to CDC recommendations and with the Sevier County mask mandate expiring on April 15, Dollywood guests no longer are required to wear masks when they are able to socially distance in outdoor areas. Guests still are required to wear masks indoors and any location where adequate social distancing is not possible, such as in queue lines, at the entry gates, or on trams and trolleys. Dollywood hosts will continue wearing face coverings at all times. In addition, temperature checks have been discontinued. Guests and hosts, however, must still complete a health self-assessment prior to entering the park.”
The policy also matches that of the city of Nashville, which is no longer requiring face masks be worn in outdoor settings.
Face masks have been a fact of life for most theme park visitors since parks began reopening in the late spring of 2020. Dollywood and Silver Dollar City were among those requiring face coverings, though a July 2020 article from Travel Codex’s Rocky Horan reported that Dollywood’s enforcement of those mask rules was “minimal” during his visit.
Most major theme parks have yet to relax their face mask rules, as public health officials have warned that masks are still necessary as COVID-19 variants spread and only a minority of the population has been vaccinated. Disney World did announce a slight tweak to its own face coverings policy, allowing guests to remove masks for photos while remaining stationary and distanced from other guests.
This story was updated after publication with a statement from Dollywood.
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