By Mike Murphy
It may not thrill all visitors, but “The Happiest Place on Earth” will soon require face masks for all when indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., announced the update to their COVID-19 policies Wednesday night, as new coronavirus cases soar nationwide as the more contagious delta variant spreads.
Starting Friday, face masks will be mandatory at the Walt Disney Co.’s /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS +0.07% U.S. theme parks for all visitors over 2 years old while indoors, including many attractions and transportation vehicles. That aligns with the latest recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Face coverings remain optional for all guests in outdoor common areas,” the parks said. Disney World dropped in outdoor mask requirement in May, while Disneyland dropped its in June.
Florida is one of the epicenters of the latest conronavirus upswing, with every county listed as having “high” levels of community spread, according to CNN . Florida has averaged more than 10,000 new cases a day over the past week, triple what it was three weeks ago, CNN reported.
Earlier Wednesday, Orange County, Fla., where Orlando is located, reinstated a state of emergency due to the COVID spike.
Southern California is also seeing soaring infections, with Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties all listed as having “high” transmission rates. Orange County, where Anaheim is located, has reported its seven-day daily case rate has slowly increased over the past two weeks.