Starting March 4, Universal Studios Hollywood will no longer require guests to wear face masks or show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
The policy shift is in line with Los Angeles County, which is set to lift its indoor mask mandate the same day. The county rules on “mega events” — which included outdoor gatherings of more than 10,000 people — had given Universal Hollywood some of the strictest theme park COVID-19 standards, even when parks in other states had long abandoned any mask requirement and had never required proof of vaccination.
The same standards applied to Six Flags Magic Mountain, which did not need to enforce the mask or vaccination requirements on days when attendance was below 10,000.
Two beams removed on Iron Gwazi over guest safety concerns
Ahead of its official opening date, Iron Gwazi has already undergone a minor modification in the name of safety.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay said in a statement Thursday that it removed two beams from an undisclosed part of the ride after a guest reported hitting a beam with his hand during a preview event. According to the park, the guest declined any medical treatment, but it did not specify when the incident occurred.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the morning after this situation, crews removed two beams from the area where the guest reported this situation occurred,” the park said in an unsigned statement. “We took the precautionary step to remove them as part of our commitment to the health and safety of guests.”
The 206-foot-tall hybrid coaster, which sports a 91-degree drop and a top speed of 76 miles per hour, opened on Feb. 13 for passholders. It will open for the general public on March 11.
Report: Bob Chapek is why Disney won’t publicly oppose Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill
The Walt Disney Company is unlikely to speak out publicly against the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation being advanced in the Florida legislature. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Disney CEO Bob Chapek is the reason why.
The legislation would forbid “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” in public schools from kindergarten through third grade “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
The proposal is supported by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, but has been widely condemned as bigoted by LGBTQ+ rights groups and Florida Democrats. President Joe Biden referred to the bill as “hateful.”
Despite Disney’s public relations push about making “inclusion” a key part of training for its theme park employees, the company has donated to each of the sponsors of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. (Universal Orlando’s parent company, Comcast, has donated $28,000 to the bill’s sponsors).
THR reported on March 2 that Chapek is less willing than his predecessor, Bob Iger, to take political stances, and is believed to be more conservative politically. According to anonymous source that spoke to THR, Chapek has been concerned that Disney may be viewed as too liberal.
Geoff Morrell, Disney’s chief corporate affairs officer under Chapek, told THR, “Whatever Bob’s personal politics are, he’s not an activist and does not bring any partisan agenda to work.”
You can read the full THR story here.