Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced the CDC now considers the Orlando region at “high risk” for community transmission of the COVID-19 virus and he is now calling for all people to wear masks or face coverings indoors once again. It is not a local mask mandate.
Mayor Demings said his “official recommendation” for all people in Orange County, vaccinated or not, is to consider wearing face coverings or masks indoors when in a crowded environment. The new warning from Orange County’s Democratic mayor comes after a surge in local cases indicating Orlando is becoming a COVID-19 hotspot.
When asked what this means for the local theme parks like Universal Orlando Resort and Disney World, Mayor Demings did not answer, likely due to the political pressure from those companies on the mayor’s office. Orlando’s tourism will not be impacted right now, as there has been no indication of any official changes to the safety protocols at the major theme parks, which have all returned to normal operations and full capacity.
The mayor’s recommendation is against current CDC guidance for vaccinated Americans. The CDC currently says “fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” but does have a convenient political exception clause too: “except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
Orange County health officials echoed the Mayor’s call, but stopped short of issuing any local mandates, which would cause another conflict with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The county is urging residents to “protect yourself with a mask” from the coronavirus spread.
The Orange County School Board is already moving to make face coverings and masks optional next school year. Governor DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran pushed all school districts to update their face mask policies to optional.
County officials did also admit the political back-and-forth regarding masks and face coverings does not help the ongoing situation, but rather it splits and divides instead of getting results. So, no local mandate, just a strong recommendation from Mayor Demings.
Will you wear a face mask indoors again, whether you are vaccinated or not?