Just in time for a very busy and very hot holiday weekend, Universal Orlando Resort will no longer require face coverings or masks for fully vaccinated guests at all. But since Florida law prohibits any business from requiring proof of vaccination, an issue led by Governor Ron DeSantis, effectively all guests visiting Universal Orlando no longer have to wear face masks indoors, or on attractions, beginning this weekend.
“While we will not require proof of vaccination, we do expect our guests to comply with this revised policy and to use face coverings if they have not been vaccinated,” park officials said in a statement. Park officials added that the changes are based on guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Face masks at Universal Orlando Resort just became optional.
The latest policy change comes two weeks after Universal Orlando dropped the mandate to have guests wear masks outdoors on May 15th. SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica Orlando dropped outdoor and indoor face mask requirements earlier, while Universal and Disney attempted to navigate different face covering policies for indoors and outdoors. The parks have also already started to increase overall capacity allowed in to the parks each day, they have stopped temperature checks and dropped markings for social distancing from around the parks, and they are seating guests in every row on attractions.
The theme parks seem to be ready to leave the COVID-19 pandemic behind. How will this make tourists feel? Or locals? No word from Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings or Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer on the relaxed restrictions, or any fears they may have with the move. The mayors have been very vocal and extremely cautious during the pandemic, often countering Governor DeSantis. But both mayors are also controlled by tourism interests like Universal Orlando, so there should be no political pressure from local elected officials.
The move will obviously help for the summer tourism season given the heat, where travel to Orlando remains strong. More than half of all U.S. travelers are considering Orlando as their vacation destination.
Look for a lot of smiling faces without masks at the theme parks if you go.