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

Apr 28, 2021 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.

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Trauma3 days ago

Yeah that’s the point I think I would like to hammer home to people. From reading these forums before travel I had the sense that the masks rules where very strict and compliance was very high. It’s not even close to what I feel like was being described. If you need indoor mask compliance to feel safe on your trip I would strongly recommend you don’t go. The mask compliance is no where near what I would consider acceptable if that mattered to me.

Trauma3 days ago

It was not open.

Animaniac93-984 days ago

I spent the last two weekends at DLR and had a similar experience. Safety guidelines and guests compliance of them was poor. DLR always had narrower queues than WDW, and they were packed. Parks were as busy as ever. While CMs would remind guests to wear a mask indoors, as soon as the guest thought they were out of sight, off went the mask, or at least went below the nose. Hand sanitizers were empty more often than not, probably only refilled overnight. If you think Disney is safer than anywhere else right now, it's not. That's just PR. If you're thinking of going, assume it's a regular pre-COVID day at the parks and plan accordingly if that concerns you.

helenabear4 days ago

I heard October https://chipandco.com/jellyrolls-in-disneys-boardwalk-will-be-reopening-in-october-444985/

Bullseye19674 days ago

Is Jelly Rolls open also? One of our favorite spots at the Boardwalk.

Chi844 days ago

Yes, I believe that part was implied.

TrainChasers4 days ago

Yes, I look forward to a day when Covid isn’t filling up our hospitals because it’s being spread around the country and world.

maui2k74 days ago

Anyone else look forward to the day when the subject of wearing masks is no longer a topic of conversation when it comes to WDW and visiting the parks?

Trauma4 days ago

So I’m sitting at the airport waiting to board figured I give some thoughts on my experience with the mask requirements. Good news - Had a great trip and the masks really weren’t an issue at all. That being said it would be worth mentioning that the parks where empty. For example FoP was a walk on. The longest line I waited in was for Rotr. Bad news - I guess this depends on your point of view but I would say if your concerned at all about covid just don’t go. Even with no crowds the mask reminder was often followed by “please fill in all available space”. The firework shows where still shoulder to shoulder. As for mask compliance? So this is what I found interesting. I thought that mask requirements would be strict however that wasn’t the case. Resort- In the hallways for the resort ( Boardwalk for me ) mask compliance was ok. I would say like 70%. The dance hall at the boardwalk though was dancing and drinking all night with no masks. The shops and stores had very good mask compliance. Transportation - Very good mask compliance except for the skyliner where I would say almost nobody wore a mask after departure. Parks - Well I can only speak for the men’s washroom but almost no one wears a mask in them. The rides where very interesting. For example last night on splash people actually boarded the boats with no mask at all and where not stopped. Others would remove their mask as soon as the ride started. It honestly seemed like the later in the day it would get the less cast would care about and mask compliance. In summary the cast would do a good job throughout parks and resorts but it seems most people just don’t care about the rules and don’t seem interested in following them. If you are concerned about covid and thinking that the indoor mask mandate will keep you safe, you should rethink your trip or accept you will be in close quarters with people indoors who are not masked at all, or masked improperly. If you are concerned that masks will ruin your trip, well don’t be. At least while crowd levels continue to be low.

SteveAZee5 days ago

Do they put the unvaccinated in the rear cars? Just thinking about wind direction. :)

Trauma5 days ago

Also some attractions require no masks at all like slinky dog.

disneygeek905 days ago

I think about 2 weeks after the indoor masking that was re-assessed. Makes sense and I have no problem wearing a mask inside at this time. Universal indoor “recommended” mask wearing is about 15%

DisneyCane5 days ago

I don't know if it's been mentioned but when I was in the parks Thursday and Friday, for attractions where part of the queue was outdoors you weren't required to put the mask on until you got to the indoor part. I'm not sure if this has been the policy since the return of indoor masking since this was my first visit since.

Heelz23155 days ago

With things improving in Florida, does anyone think the indoor mask policy will be removed by Christmas, or will they wai till Spring?