Universal Orlando Resort announced all Universal parks will require face masks to be worn indoors at all times regardless of vaccination status, effective Dec. 24.
The Orlando theme park complex posted to its website and social media late Wednesday afternoon with the updated guidelines, saying the “health and safety of our guests and team members is always our top priority.”
Masks will be required inside locations such as restaurants, shops and indoor hotel public areas. They are also to be worn at all attractions within the parks from the moment guests enter the line for the attraction until they exit the attraction.
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This decision came as concerns of omicron, the new coronavirus variant, have risen across the world and locally within the state.
While Universal has updated its face mask policy, its website states it does not require proof of vaccination. They are continuing to “remain focused on maintaining the highest cleanliness and sanitization standards.”
While some expressed their frustration with this decision on the theme park complex’s social media, it’s a policy one major Orlando park complex has had in place throughout the pandemic.
Since Walt Disney World re-opened in July 2020, it has required face masks be worn, though their policy has since been altered to only require masks indoors. An indoor location, according to its website, includes locations such as buses, monorails, the Disney Skyliner, indoor lines and indoor attractions.
Theme parks across Central Florida relaxed their COVID-19 guidelines in May.
Then, Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World updated their face mask policies, making masks optional outdoors but still requiring them indoors. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens did away with the requirement for fully vaccinated guests, and did not require proof of vaccination.
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By July, Universal Orlando had done away with the face mask requirement, but recommended masks be worn, especially by unvaccinated guests. Staff began wearing masks again while occupying indoor guest areas July 31, but the policy for guests was not updated.
At the end of July, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens updated their policies to recommend guests wear masks while indoors in accordance to CDC guidelines. The rules apply to all parks owned by SeaWorld. The policy is still in effect and has not been updated since.
Disney World is the only theme park complex that requires guests to reserve a spot at the park prior to their visit. To do so, guests must use the Disney Park Pass system.
Both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort require that all guests confirm they are not feeling sick and are not experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat or new loss of taste or smell. They must also not have been in contact with someone with known or suspected COVID-19 symptoms or be under orders to self-quarantine.