Recently, we’ve seen some big changes made regarding distancing and masks in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued updated guidance regarding what activities fully vaccinated individuals can do outdoors without a mask. And earlier today, Mayor Demings of Orange County, Florida (where part of Disney World is located) relaxed some distancing rules in the county and announced some mask policy changes coming in the future. Mayor Demings also specifically spoke about theme parks and what changes might happen there.
As we mentioned above, during a press conference held today, Orange County, Florida mayor, Mayor Jerry Demings, announced a series of changes coming to Orange County’s mask and distancing guidelines. The changes will take place over phases.
During Phase 1 (effective immediately) social distancing is allowed to be reduced from 6 feet to 3 feet in all settings.
Those who are fully vaccinated should continue to follow all appropriate CDC guidelines for wearing masks.
So, what could this change — effective immediately — regarding distancing mean for theme parks in Orange County, like Walt Disney World?
Well, one reporter from News 6 asked just that during the press conference. The reporter asked whether there had been any conversations with the theme parks and what changes we could see when it comes to tourism.
Mayor Demings responded by saying, “So in terms of have we had any communication with our theme parks, yes, we’ve had communication with them.” He specifically noted that he expects the theme parks “will make some adjustments,” but that those adjustments “will be based upon keeping their guests safe.“
Mayor Demings said “this allows them as they manage the lines and other things for those outdoor types of settings and even indoor, they’re able to increase capacity as a result of that.” It seems what Mayor Demings is indicating is that the immediate change of allowing distancing guidelines to change from 6 feet to 3 feet could potentially allow theme parks, like Walt Disney World, to increase their capacity.
Keep in mind that private companies, like Disney World can set their own guidelines. But, the reporter who asked the question did note that the parks generally indicated they would follow county leaders in setting their guidelines.
Currently, capacity at Disney World (from what has been shared) is capped at 35%. In terms of increasing capacity, Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek had previously noted that whether Disney will be able to increase capacity is really going to be determined by the rate of vaccinations of the public. That statement was originally made back in February of this year.
More individuals across the United States have become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Mayor Demings has indicated that in Orange County, Florida alone, 43.4% of eligible residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine so far.
Disney has not yet announced any changes to its capacity levels or other regulations. We are on the lookout for more information and will let you know what we find.