Universal Orlando will not require guests to wear face masks in indoor spaces, despite new federal recommendations leading rival Walt Disney World to bring back its own indoor face covering mandate.
In an email to Theme Park Tribune, Universal spokesperson Alyson Gernert said:
“The health and safety of our guests and team members is always our top priority. We encourage all our guests to follow CDC guidelines and local directives to wear face coverings while indoors across our destination. Beginning Saturday, all Team Members will wear face coverings while working indoors in guest areas and all will continue to practice social distancing.”
While this does represent a change for Universal team members, for guests, masks will continue to be optional in practice for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated, since the resort is not checking anyone’s vaccination status.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended earlier this week that even fully vaccinated individuals wear masks in indoors public spaces in areas where the Delta variant of COVID-19 is causing widespread transmission. Every county in Florida fits that description, and on Wednesday, Disney World announced its indoor mask requirement was coming back.
While Disney World and Universal Orlando’s policies mirrored each other earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been some separation in recent months. Universal ended its indoor mask mandate on May 29, weeks before Disney World did the same.
Other Florida theme parks, including SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and Legoland Florida, have not answered requests for comments on whether their face mask policies will change.