Orange County in Florida, where Disney World is located, issued its first face mask mandate in June of last year. Since then, face masks have been required in public spaces throughout the county.
With vaccinations on the rise nationwide, many have wondered when mandates such as this could be modified or lifted entirely. Thanks to an alert from Joe Schreiber today, we learned that Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings has made comments on that very question.
Mayor Demings said in a press conference today that “the mask mandate will end, I think, as we get closer to maybe 50% of the total population having been vaccinated.” In terms of when that could happen, he continued on to say, “I believe that by the time we get to June, perhaps, we should be there at that point. We’ll see.”
There are other factors that will be in consideration when it comes to modifying any mandates, including the spread of any potential COVID-19 variants in the coming weeks and months. Mayor Demings closed his comment by saying that he remained optimistic that modifications could come within the next month or two if vaccinations continue.
Keep in mind that the face mask policies in question would apply to public spaces in the county, and private companies like Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort could still set their own face mask mandates separate from the county.
Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek commented at the most recent earnings call in February that he expects to “have some level of mask wearing and social distancing [in the parks] through the end of this year,” but this largely depended on the rate of vaccination nationwide.
Chapek noted that having a large number of vaccines available to the public by April would be a “major game-changer” for the current health and safety policies in the parks, but no announcements or changes have been made at this time. Disney World’s face mask policy is still in effect, which requires all guests above the age of 2 to wear a face mask at all times, except when stationary, physically distanced from others, and actively eating or drinking.
We’ll continue to monitor the latest developments in Disney World and the surrounding Central Florida area and we will keep you informed with the most up-to-date news!
Click here to look back on Bob Chapek’s statements concerning how long he thinks it will take before the parks return to “normal.”
Do you have a Disney World trip planned for 2021? Let us know in the comments!
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