U.S. Disney theme parks are reconsidering their COVID-19 safety protocol after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new mask guidelines.
On Thursday, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated Americans are no longer required to wear face masks or social distance in most cases. And Disney officials have hinted that they may soon drop the mask requirement to enter their U.S. theme parks.
"Today's guidance that we got from the CDC in terms of those that were vaccinated do not necessarily need to wear masks anymore, both outdoors and indoors is very big news for us," Disney CEO Bob Chapek said during an earnings call Thursday.
The CDC rules advise that fully vaccinated Americans do not have to wear face masks in most indoor settings nor outdoors, even when in crowded spaces.
Chapek also appeared for an interview with CNBC's Fast Money, saying, "you can only imagine what it'd be like in 95 degrees and 95% humidity wearing a mask, so we're thrilled to be able to do that."
During the call, Chapek announced that demand for visiting Walt Disney World in Florida has been rising and that new guidance from Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed the park to increase capacity.
In early April, Disney World already allowed guests to remove their face masks for outdoor photo opps.
And earlier this month, Disney World announced that it would phase out temperature checks for visitors beginning May 16. At this time, social distancing and mandatory reservations remain in place.
Although the CDC rule lifts the mask mandate in many places, individual businesses may still set their own rules and require customers to wear masks while on their property. Travelers are still required to wear face masks on airplanes and in airports. That rule will remain in place until at least autumn.
Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.
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