In places where COVID-19 transmission is surging, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that everyone return to wearing face masks in indoor public spaces — including those fully vaccinated against COVID-19, reversing a policy the CDC had only unveiled two months ago.
Every county in Florida is considered a high-transmission area, as of Tuesday, and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said the area is “now in crisis mode,” with local hospital systems approaching capacity. Dr. Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, said Monday that almost all the new COVID-19 infections are in the unvaccinated.
Florida counties and businesses are banned from requiring proof of vaccination, but counties could issue a new face mask order, a move Demings did not rule out Monday.
When Theme Park Tribune asked for comment on the new CDC mask recommendations and whether parks planned to reinstitute indoor mask requirements, neither Disney World, Universal Orlando, or SeaWorld responded. Parks outside of Orange County, including Legoland Florida and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, also did not return requests for comment.
The parks can require guests to wear masks without a county order, as they did earlier in the pandemic. Orange County’s indoor mask mandate ended on June 5, but SeaWorld and Universal had stopped requiring masks indoors for vaccinated guests earlier, while Disney World waited until June 15.
In other parts of the country, parks have only reimposed indoor masking requirements when forced to do so by government mandates.
Six Flags Magic Mountain and Universal Studios Hollywood are following the recent mask order in Los Angeles County, while Six Flags St. Louis guests have to wear masks in indoor spaces again in compliance with a St. Louis County order.