CDC updates guidance and recommends masks when indoors, even for those who are fully vaccinated, with likely implications for Walt Disney World

Jul 27, 2021 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Tuesday July 27, 2021 2:55pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has announced new guidelines which recommend that those who are fully vaccinated resume wearing masks when indoors in areas of high transmission. Florida is currently a COVID-19 hotspot and rated at the highest level of transmission by the CDC, with 20% of the nation's cases being reported in the state.

This is a reversal of the decision made two months ago where the CDC said that those who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks in any setting.

Disney moved quickly to follow the relaxed CDC guidelines at that time, and Walt Disney World rapidly became a mostly mask-free environment, even though many guests are likely not fully vaccinated.

Orange County is seeing a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases, prompting the Orange County Mayor to say yesterday, "We're now in crisis mode." Current numbers of new cases are similar to January 2021, before the vaccine was widely available. More than 1000 new cases are being reported daily, and testing sites are hitting capacity early in the afternoon. AdventHealth, the area's primary healthcare provider, has said its ICUs are at capacity, and the system has moved to a red alert level.

With Orange County facing significant barriers imposed by the state governor to introduce a new mask mandate, it may fall to Disney to act on CDC guidelines alone.

Disney is yet to make any comment or change its mask policy, but based on previous CDC guidance, it would seem likely that Disney will have to respond in the coming days.

Disney's current mask policy is: "While face coverings are required for all Guests while in Disney buses, monorail and Disney Skyliner, they are now optional in most areas for Guests who are fully vaccinated. While we do not require proof of vaccination, we expect Guests who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations and upon entering and throughout all attractions and transportation except ferry boats. "

While it seems likely that Disney will have to revise its mask policy, it will be interesting to see if the company moves to mandatory masking indoors or simply to a recommendation that masks are worn indoors.

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danlb_20002 days ago

There was a study that showed that at the state level the mandates didn't make much difference. This could have been because of a lack of enforcement wasn't actually changing the number of people wearing masks. It also could be that the places where it was being enforced weren't the places that were driving the spread.

Chip Chipperson2 days ago

My friend Gavin got a bad case of Machinehead that way. It turned green to red and everything.

SteveAZee2 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.

Chi842 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.

SteveAZee2 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.3 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.

Tinkwings3 days ago

Fixed that above......good point! :p

danlb_20003 days ago

"Breathe in, Breathe out", that's a sure fire way to spread the virus! ;)

SteveAZee3 days ago

Yes, it didn't prevent it. Harder to know how much the masks mitigated it, though... could the spike have been worse? You can only infer the answer by looking at other populations that didn't apply a mandate.

Ayla3 days ago

Zero chance.

SoCalDisneyLover3 days ago

Cool, anyways. So if you're saying that Delta hit Hawaii as hard as places like FL, MS, TX, AR, TN, then you're still wrong. The fact that Delta impacted everywhere is irrelevant. Hawaii got hit harder during Delta that at any other time of the pandemic. Fine. But to even compare their results with those other states, is so far from reality, it's kind of sad the comparison is being made.

mikejs783 days ago

Frankly, if politics weren't an issue, the solution would be to require proof of vaccination or wear a mask in any public setting, at least during outbreaks.

Trauma3 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.

MansionButler843 days ago

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