Orange County to reduce physical distancing requirements and plans to eliminate mask mandate - a significant development for Disney World

14 days ago in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Wednesday April 28, 2021 11:15am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Following on from yesterday's CDC update on COVID-19, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings is today announcing some significant changes to its face covering executive order.


This development is significant for Walt Disney World theme parks, with Orange County guidelines shaping much of Disney World's COVID-19 response throughout the pandemic.

The changes are described in three distinct phases, which are based on levels of vaccination achieved.

Effective immediately, the order reduces the physical distancing requirement from 6 to 3 feet in all settings, both indoors and outdoors. However, employees working at indoor locations will still be required to wear masks.

When 50% of the population 16+ has been vaccinated, the facial covering mandate will be lifted for all individuals outdoors.

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 mandates will be lifted.

Jerry Demings was asked about the impact to theme parks, and in response he said that he has been in discussion with the park operators and adjustments will be made. He expects to see capacity increase as a result of the changes.

The Orange County representatives also stated that they expect to see 50% vaccinated within 3 weeks, which will lead to the mask mandate being lifted for people outdoors.

With today's Orange County announcement it is clear that the region is rapidly moving towards a far more normal standard of daily life. The timing is of great value to Disney World as the region approaches the traditional busy summer season.

Discuss on the Forums
View all comments →

FormerMember17 minutes ago

Dr. Sanjay Gupta.... After viewing the clip of Collins, Gupta stated, “It pains me to say this, but I see where she’s coming from — Sen. Collins — on this. I think for a long time, the concern was the CDC was providing guidance at the beginning of the pandemic that was not scientifically based. And as a result, we didn’t do things that we should have done in this country that could have greatly mitigated what has happened here. And now I think it’s almost a little bit of the reverse problem. The science is not necessarily being followed to the same extent. And as a result, we’re probably doing things that we don’t need to be doing. So, in the end, the CDC needs to be just a science-based organization. What does the science say? You don’t need to wear a mask outside. It’s just one of these things that, again, we’ve known this for some time.” Gupta continued that while it’s difficult to paint the whole country with a broad brush on indoor masking due to different transmission rates in different areas and people in areas with high transmission probably need to be more cautious, “If you’re vaccinated, I don’t think you need to wear a mask indoors either. So, this is what the science is sort of showing, and I think the CDC just needs to probably say that. They’re erring on the side of caution. I get it. … But I think, at this point, it has to be very clear what the science shows and what you can do as a result of that.” Interesting. edit to add.... Not my words, so don't ban me for posting. Thanks.

MansionButler841 hour ago

Agree to disagree then. They’ll drop the requirement eventually. Remember, the countries they sail to also want proof of vaccination now.

King Raccoon 772 hours ago

France isn't a good example to give as they are struggling to get their population vaccinated.

tpac242 hours ago

Even the WHO is against vaccine passports. France is also saying no to vaccine passports. I don't think the cruise lines will pull out of Florida and I think they will also end up dropping this vaccine policy once the dust settles. https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/who-panel-against-requiring-vaccination-proof-travel-statement-2021-04-19/

helenabear14 hours ago

They likely won't do much immediately. Maybe later, but with them just opening I see them being cautious. It seems Orange Co. is close to the metrics as well. As it is, my state is dropping all mandates June 2nd.

MansionButler8414 hours ago

Baltimore will be looking great for some ships (not the behemoths).

danlb_200014 hours ago

Not good for the Florida economy if the cruise lines pull out over it.

Big Phil14 hours ago

Good. Now can someone please send some leadership up to Canada so we can open the borders to travel?

drnilescrane17 hours ago

It’s also starting to look like the CDC (and with OCFL at less than 5% positivity) are going to blow past “no masks in outdoor congregate settings” straight to “no masks for vaccinated people anywhere”. WDW will probably slow walk it the way they are with the reduced distancing, but things are improving quickly… and the national media is keeping the heat up on the government to show progress and give meaningful incentive to get to the 70% mark.

MansionButler8417 hours ago

Exactly. I bet they’ll keep masks at theme parks.

drnilescrane17 hours ago

"No. Only in those settings that are indoor -- only in those massively large settings where people around the world, not just around the country, are convening, and when people are mixing in real dense spaces," Newsom replied. "Otherwise, we'll make guidance recommendations, but no mandates and no restrictions on businesses large and small." The mixing/convening language is exactly what the California DPH used to justify keeping DLR closed for over a year after being “aghast” at what they saw at WDW. As a California resident, considering their prior stances I can see Theme Parks being forced to keep protocols later than the rest of the state’s economy… though who knows with how quickly everything is shifting.

danlb_200017 hours ago

No, we have had this debate a few times, people aren't mis-interpreting the question, they seem to honestly believe that there is a clear distinction between indoor and outdoor.

tpac2418 hours ago

Looks like California is doing away with their mask mandate on June 15th. I wonder how DL will respond to this?.

AEfx18 hours ago

I think some of it is that people are looking at different things in that picture. If you are going by where the person taking the photograph is standing, yes, it is outdoors. But I believe you are trying to point out the shops/etc. that are partially open air or not. You are absolutely correct that the line between "how far is indoors" or not is a dicey issue all over the parks because of their very design.