MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) – Universal Orlando Resort announced Friday afternoon that it was updating its COVID safety measures and are now saying masks are not “mandatory” while outdoors but are still “required in all indoor locations including shops and restaurants” and required at all attractions.
The policy will go into effect on Saturday, May 15th.READ MORE: Miami Police Department Fires Deputy Chief Ronald Papier, Commander Nerly Papier
The decision comes just one day after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, except under certain circumstances.
It’s not clear yet how Disney will change its park policies, however, a Disney spokeperson said in a statement Thursday that the CDC guidance is “extremely positive news” and that “as soon as is practical, we will implement updated guidelines across our businesses.”
Robert Niles, editor of ThemeParkInsider.com, agreed: “This is potentially a huge deal for Disney, but as with everything that we’ve dealt with over the past year and a half, it’s all going to come down to the details.”
According to Niles, the mask guidance matters more to Disney tourists than it does to customers at Walmart or Starbucks because of the length of time they have to wear a mask.READ MORE: FIU Ranked First Among Florida Public Universities
“You’re not doing this for 30 minutes. Disney is an all-day commitment for most people,” he said. “There are a lot of people who have said, ‘You know what? I’m not going to come back until I don’t have to spend 12 hours in a mask, particularly outside in Florida where the weather can be nasty in the summer.'”
He added, “if Disney can get beyond having to require that, that’s potentially a big deal for the company.”
Whatever Disney ultimately does will also have a domino effect on the rest of the theme park industry since the company is an industry leader, Niles said. Still, it also comes with a lot of complications.
“I think what’s keeping Disney from making an immediate change is that there’s no way right now that Disney can easily tell who is fully vaccinated and continue to know that through the entirety of someone’s visit,” he said. “The entire industry is struggling with that right now, but Disney’s guidance can be very helpful on how to manage this.”
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