A number of changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, masks, and more have been announced recently.
The Centers for Disease Control have updated their guidance regarding wearing masks outdoors, the Transportation Security Administration extended their mask requirements for planes and public transportation, and we’ve seen some health measures changed in Disney World. Earlier today, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order suspending local COVID-19 regulations and also signed a law related to COVID-19 restrictions, and now Disney has responded.
Earlier today, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order that suspends all local COVID-19 emergency orders. These emergency orders may have instituted specific COVID-19 rules and regulations, like mask mandates and other things, at the local level.
The Governor also signed into law a bill passed by the Florida legislature that, according to the Orlando Sentinel, gives the Legislature more power to “overrule any emergency mandates or restrictions by the governor, the governor the authority to overrule cities and counties, and city and county commissions the power to overrule mayors.”
Because that bill doesn’t go into effect until July 1st, this executive order suspending all local COVID-19 emergency orders (and the restrictions they’ve put in place) is essentially being used to “bridge the gap.”
It is our understanding that this executive order from Governor DeSantis would likely impact the enforceability of the local COVID-19 rules and regulations in place in Orange County, Florida, such as the mask mandate, which was created via an executive order from the Orange County Mayor some time ago. Orange County’s Mayor Demings has not yet commented on the impact of this executive order.
As a private business, however, Disney can continue to require guests to wear masks and take certain other actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, Disney World has issued a notice via the My Disney Experience app about the changes going on in Florida and the rules that continue to be in place in Disney World.
While one of our reporters was in the parks today, they got a notification from Disney indicating that Florida has announced plans regarding COVID-19 guidelines, but that Disney’s health and safety measures are the same for now, including their rules regarding face masks.
Another one of our reporters also got a notification while they were in the parks. This one notes that Disney is aware of the state of Florida’s plans announced today to modify the COVID-19 guidelines. It notes that Disney will evaluate the latest guidance and maintain their current health and safety measures at this time.
The notice also states that Disney will continue to make more “thoughtful adjustments” to their policy in the future and it encourages individuals to get vaccinated as more vaccines become available.
The Disney World website also now contains similar language.
At the moment, Disney’s health and safety policies remain the same when it comes to masks and distancing. Face masks continue to be required to be worn by all Disney guests ages 2 and older at all times, except when specifically allowed to be removed like when swimming, eating/drinking while stationary and distanced from others, or temporarily while taking an outdoor photo. Guests not properly wearing an approved mask will be asked to leave.
Guests continue to be advised to maintain 6-feet of distance between them and other guests as well.
We’ll continue to keep an eye out for any updates from Florida officials and/or Disney, and we’ll let you know what we find.