Orange County Reduces Physical Distancing Guidelines, Mask Mandate to Be Lifted Soon with New Executive Order
The home of (most of) Walt Disney World, Orange Country, Florida is on the path back to “normalcy!” Just today, Mayor Jerry Demings, announced a new executive order that will phase out certain COVID-19 protocols including the immediate change in social distancing guidelines and when we can expect the county’s mask mandate to be rolled back.
In Phase 1 of Mayor Deming’s executive order for Orange County, the social distancing guideline has been scaled back from the current six feet to three feet. In addition, the county recommends fully-vaccinated residents to follow the new CDC recommendations that were just released yesterday where they advise that those who are fully-vaccinated can now enjoy activities outside without a mask as long as it isn’t in a large crowd.
😷 Mask Mandate Update 😷
Phase 1 – Effective Immediately (https://t.co/nHYfsJcROl)
✅ Reduce physical distance from 6 to 3 feet in all settings
✅ Fully vaccinated individuals should follow CDC guidelines for wearing facial coverings
👇 For Phase 2 and 3, view graphics below. pic.twitter.com/ReZrSIOD4l
— Orange County FL (@OrangeCoFL) April 28, 2021
Phase 2 of the Mayor’s Executive Order will go into effect when 50% of Orange County’s population that is 16+ receives at least the first dose of the COVID vaccine. When this occurs, the following can happen:
- The outdoor mask mandate will be lifted but the indoor mandate will remain in effect except while eating or drinking
- The 3 feet social distancing guideline will still be encouraged
It is estimated that 50% of Orange County residents who are 16 and older will receive at least one dose of the vaccine within the next three weeks.
When Orange County reaches 50% vaccinations for 16+ (estimated to happen in about 3 weeks), the county will make changes to its mask mandate: pic.twitter.com/7Qsg8o6tN6
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) April 28, 2021
In the final phase of the executive order, Orange County will lift all mandates including the social distancing guidelines and both the indoor and outdoor mask mandate. This can happen when 70% of the population ages 16 and above has received their first vaccination and/or the County’s 14-day rolling positivity rates is 5% or lower.
When asked during today’s press conference. Mayor Demings has said that he has been conversing with the local theme parks. He said, “I beleive the adjustments they will make will be based on keeping guests safe. As they manage the lines for outdoor settings… and even indoor, they’re able to increase capacity as a result of that.
So, what does this mean for Walt Disney World? At this time, with the immediate reduction of the social distancing guidelines for Orange County down to three feet, Walt Disney World could reduce their queue space and allow more Guests.
However, if were are looking for the mask mandate to be lifted, it sounds like it’s going to be just a little longer. With yesterday’s CDC recommendations still suggesting masks for those who are fully-vaccinated and in large crowds and the new Orange County executive order, it will probably be around the beginning to the middle of the Summer.
But, there is still a catch! Since Walt Disney World is a private company, they do not have to lift their mask mandate when Orange County has 70% of their population vaccinated and/or a 14-day rolling positivity rate and enters phase 3 of the executive order.
Like Orange County, I feel that Walt Disney World will roll back their social distancing and mask mandate in a phased approach. It is likely we saw the first stage of that phased approach executed a few weeks ago when they announced that masks were no longer required when guests were posing for photos.
The next phase Walt Disney World will most likely go into regarding their mask mandate will be that they won’t be required by guests outdoors but will still required in indoor queues and attractions. You can count on us to be the first to let you know when this happens!
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