Orange County mayor expects to lift all mask and social distancing requirements on Friday - potentially clearing the way for Disney to eliminate masks at the Disney World theme parks

Jun 02, 2021 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Wednesday June 2, 2021 4:30pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings has this afternoon announced that he is not yet ready to lift all COVID-19 restrictions relating to masks and social distancing - potentially delaying a mask-free Walt Disney World for a few more days.

At the end of April, Demings laid out a phased plan to begin to scale back mask and physical distancing requirements as part of a COVID-19 mitigation strategy.

At that time, he announced that when 70% of the population 16+ has received their first dose of the vaccine and/or Orange County's 14-day rolling positivity rate is 5% or below all restrictions will be lifted. The current 14 day positivity rate is just below 5% and has been for 11 days, but the vaccination level remains below 70% at 55.07%.  This has not been quite enough for the mayor to drop mask requirements county-wide, but he does expect to hit the target for phase 3 and dropping all requirements on Friday June 4.

Orange County reached the 50% vaccination level two weeks ago which triggered the county to drop the mask requirement when outdoors, and this quickly prompted Walt Disney World to drop its mask requirement for guests at its theme parks when outdoors. Masks currently remain a requirement when entering attractions and at any indoor space.

If Disney moves as quickly as it did to follow the Orange County outdoor mask requirement being dropped, we could see a mask free Walt Disney World as soon as this weekend should Orange County move ahead with phase 3 as mentioned today. Disney is yet to make any comment on any changes it will make or when.

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SteveAZee5 days ago

It seems like the idea, in restaurants, is to keep the spread local to the table as much as possible, conceding that you're eating and drinking there so... particulates all over. Moving from door to table or table to restroom allows you to 'spread the wealth' across all the tables in between... so I sort of understand the logic of maskless at the dining table and masked everywhere else.

Chi845 days ago

I see almost no masking in restaurants. People wear them walking to and from their table but don’t wear them at all while seated. It’s just the nature of restaurants. I’m not sure how much good mask mandates are doing in restaurants. The servers do wear them so maybe that helps.

SteveAZee5 days ago

I suppose that's possible, certainly in broader applications. Having mask mandates under controlled environments likely to cause spread (such as airplanes, restaurants, etc), that seems to work. Trying to enforce a mask mandate for the public at large seems difficult.

Tom P.5 days ago

I do look at the comparative data. Which is why I think mask mandates should all be lifted. There is very little, if any, data to suggest that mask mandates make any appreciable difference. Note that I am referring to mask mandates, not to masks themselves. Effectiveness of masks themselves is an entirely different matter. But having mandates in place does not seem to make any significant difference in outcomes.

Ayla6 days ago

Zero chance.

Trauma6 days ago

You make a great point here about a clearly defined goal. It makes it easier to determine success or failure. It also makes it easier to then replicate the goal in other similar settings.

MansionButler846 days ago

A goal is better than a vague, “maybe someday,” at least.

mikejs786 days ago

We will see how well that works here in MA. We have a universal school mask mandate until October 1. After Oct 1, schools can remove the mask requirement for vaccinated students and staff only, and only if the school reaches an 80% vaccination threshold.

Trauma6 days ago

Exactly. We can not aim at a target that does not exist. We need a goal. A person who says I want to lose 5 pounds is much more likely to take action that a person who says I need to lose some weight. Yes they are both goals but one is more clearly defined and therefore more likely to be acted upon.

MansionButler846 days ago

They don’t WANT to keep the masks, obviously. At the latest, I’m sure they go away for good when respiratory illness season ends next spring.

Tinkwings6 days ago

And while doing so, unless you are all by yourself.....

Trauma6 days ago

At then end of the day when Florida’s numbers drop down to May/June levels Disney will be forced to either change policy or lose business.

Chi846 days ago

Based on their past actions, I personally would not be comfortable predicting what either the CDC or Disney will do regarding masks in the next few months. I would caution anyone planning a trip to take any such predictions with a huge grain of salt.

Touchdown6 days ago

If/When Florida goes to yellow (moderate transmission) then I think Disney will consider lifting the order, however Florida is still very much in the red (severe) range and more then double the upper limit of orange (substantial.) They are unlikely to get there prior to 10/1. Disneyland, more specifically Orange County, CA however, may very well get there before 10/1. Watch to see what happens there to determine Disney’s plan.