Disney World visitors must wear face masks at the Florida theme park — even if they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine.
That’s the policy, updated on Jan. 28 by the company, which previously required guests and castmembers ages two and older to wear face coverings, except when eating or swimming (with neck gaiters, bandanas and mesh coverings banned).
The updated guidance aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which advises people to continue wearing masks and practice social distancing, even after two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Presently, only Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are available to the public, although a single-dose product by Johnson & Johnson proved 85 percent effective, the company announced Friday, in preventing severe infection in the United States, Latin America and South Africa where trials were conducted.
“Not enough information is currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19,” the CDC states on its website. “Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-world conditions before making that decision. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision. We also don’t yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don’t get sick yourself.”
After closing in March, Disney World reopened in July, with new rules: reserved ticketing (versus purchasing on-site), face masks, reduced ride capacity, hand-sanitizing stations and other safety plans. That month, the theme park also updated mask rules to require guests to remain stationary and distanced while eating, after noting that unmasked guests were roaming the park with food, according to Variety.
At the time, some protested the reopening, including employees who wanted local cases to decline before resuming their jobs. The resort was also criticized online for a “Welcome Home” promotional video that seemed too hasty, to some, during the crisis.
Florida has reported 1.6 million COVID-19 cases and 26,000 deaths.
Meanwhile, Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., remains closed with the exception of the shopping area in the Downtown Disney District. This week, California Governor Gavin Newsom lifted the regional stay-at-home order, which began Dec. 3, due to a decline in the state hospitalization rate.
For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.
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