Could Disney World Require Facemasks Through Spring 2021?
According to a piece in the Orlando Sentinel this morning, local officials should be prepared to wear masks and abide by other restrictions at least into 2021 if not longer. Dr Raul Pino, officer for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County said, “For the rest of the year? Yes.” Dr. Pino Added, “Until maybe the spring, or until we have a vaccine.”
This means that guests planning a Walt Disney World getaway through 2021 remain to wear facemasks when visit the parks and plan accordingly.
Pino credited face-covering requirements with helping the spike in cases around Memorial Day. With that being said, cases in Florida continue to be a problem. Orange County’s single day high for positivity rate came on June 19th with an 18% positivity rate and the highest weekly rate came on June 21st with 16.8% coming back positive .
As the Sentinel reminds us, back in June Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings passed the mask order requiring face masks be worn in ALL public places. This would eventually include Walt Disney World which opened all four of its theme parks in mid-June. Though cases in Florida rose to unprecedented numbers in July, positivity rates have decreased in Orange County since the face mask requirements went in place with this week being the 5th week straight where there has been evidence of a decline. Pino said that he believes that these figures are due to the compliance of residents and visitors with the facemask policy.
As we’ve previously reported here at MickeyBlog, Disney has been incredibly pro-active about their facemask policy. They have made facemasks MANDATORY at all theme parks, shops, restaurants, transportation as well as in resort common areas. Disney has introduced a team of cast members to help enforce the policy at the theme parks. In addition they have tightened restrictions further banning scarves and neck gaiters as well as facemasks with valves. All masks must cover the nose and mouth with straps that fasten around the ears or head/neck. They’ve also banned walking and eating with facemasks off. Guests can still take off masks to dine but they must remain stationery.
Mayor Demings feels confident that measures the county is taking are helping prevent the spread of COVID-19. He said, “The things that we have in place that are working, we have to keep in place.”
This sentiment was also shared by Dr. Crystal Watson from Bloomberg School of Public Health who said that in order to prevent future large spikes in the state policymakers face difficult decisions including the reopening of bars, whether gyms should remain open and whether or not there is adequate testing in place for local public health experts can identify outbreaks early before they spread out of control.
Though hospitalizations are decreasing in Orange County at the moment, the Sentinel tells us that neighboring Osceola County is currently reporting a daily positivity rate for COVID-19 that is in the double digits. On Wednesday of last week, 24 deaths were also reported in Orange County which was the highest single-day total for the County.
With cases continuing to be more present than hoped, the imminent arrival of an in-person return to school and lack of vaccine until 2021, it looks like Mayor Demings with the support of local officials is poised to continue to make a case for the importance of facemasks in combating the spread of COVID-19. Disney has worked diligently with local officials to make sure that state and county policies are in sync with their own preventative measures to keep guests safe. Therefore it seems likely that the theme parks will mimic the policies put in place by the County. With this in mind, its seems increasingly likely that Disney World will continue to maintain its mandatory mask policy well into the future.
This is a story that we here at MickeyBlog will continue to follow closely. Keep checking in with us for further news and updates!
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Source: Orlando Sentinel