Guests at Disney World will now be able to capture mask-free memories during the pandemic thanks to updated COVID-19 policies. As of April 8, Disney’s mask rules permit people to temporarily remove their masks while taking outdoor photos.
Properly fitting face masks are still required while inside the Florida theme park for all guests ages two and up (as well as cast members). Previously, the only exceptions to this rule were for when people were swimming or dining, USA Today reports. But updated regulations allow people to briefly take their masks off for outdoor photo ops as well. (Note that this new exception does not apply to indoor photos.)
“You may temporarily remove your face covering while actively eating, drinking, or taking an outdoor photo, but you must be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing during this time,” according to the Walt Disney World Resort page on COVID-19 regulations. So, for instance, families will be able to take the classic picture in front of the Cinderella Castle without their masks on—but only if they stay in one spot and are able to maintain a six-foot radius from other people around them, which could be hard to guarantee in a moving crowd of people.
Disney World reopened in July 2020 with an online reservation system and COVID-19 protocols and regulations, including mandatory masks, social distancing, temperature screenings, enhanced cleaning procedures, and a 25% capacity cap. Capacity has since been increased to 35%.
But the vacation destination’s two most popular parks (Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) have been near or at that capacity in recent weeks, Forbes reports, at the same time that the country has seen an overall increase in travel around spring break. Currently, Disney World tickets for those two parks are sold out for nearly every remaining day in April—and every day of May for Hollywood Studios. (Annual-pass holders may be able to access more availability.)
The update to Disney’s mask rules reflects a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions at various venues across the country—with summer around the corner, vaccination rates increasing, and states reopening. It’s likely the theme park will continue to fill up and potentially even increase capacity again, making social distancing while snapping the perfect shot even more challenging.
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