In another major rollback of COVID-19 restrictions, Universal Orlando announced that starting May 15, guests will no longer be required to wear masks while in outdoor areas.
The announcement followed Orange County, Florida removing its own outdoor mask mandate because more than 50 percent of adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. However, the county change did not impact indoor mask mandates, and private businesses like Universal have been free to set their own COVID-19 rules since the pandemic began.
Universal’s new policy states, “Face coverings are not mandatory outdoors. Guests are required to wear face coverings while at indoor locations, indoor hotel public areas and at all attractions when visiting Universal Orlando Resort, including those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Face coverings are available for purchase online, as well as at select merchandise locations in City Walk and the theme parks. Children under the age of three are not required to wear face coverings during their visit.”
Universal’s physical distancing rules remain in effect, though its standards were recently reduced from six feet to three feet.
Other theme parks around the country, such as Dollywood and Cedar Point, have interpreted a recent change in federal guidance about wearing masks outdoors as applying to theme parks.
However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed to Theme Park Tribune that it considers theme parks to be “crowded settings,” where outdoor masking may still be advisable.
The CDC shifted its mask guidance on Thursday when it announced fully vaccinated individuals can go maskless in most settings. Theme parks are so far not asking guests for proof of vaccinations — and the only proof many could provide are easily-forged paper cards.