Disney World & Disneyland Reinstate Indoor Mask Mandate, Regardless of Vaccination Status
If you're heading to one of Disney's two U.S. theme parks, you better pack your mask.
Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and Walt Disney World in Orlando will be reinstating their indoor mask mandate on Friday, July 30, PEOPLE can confirm, requiring all guests and staff members to wear a facial covering while indoors.
This rule will apply to all enclosed attractions, transportation systems (like shuttles, buses, monorails and the Disney Skyliner), stores, restaurants (when not actively eating or drinking) and more. It will also apply to everyone, whether they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or not.
"We are adapting our health and safety guidelines based on guidance from health and government officials, and will require Cast Members and Guests ages 2 and up, to wear face coverings in all indoor locations at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort beginning Friday, July 30, regardless of vaccination status," a representative for Disney tells PEOPLE.
Masks will still remain optional for guests in outdoor areas.
The reissuing of the indoor mask mandate at these high-traffic parks comes on the heels of a surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S., due in part to the highly contagious Delta variant.
On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines for indoor mask wearing, saying that in areas where COVID-19 is surging, all people — even those who have been fully vaccinated — should wear masks indoors, due to new science regarding the Delta variant.
"In recent days I have seen new scientific data from recent outbreak investigations showing that that Delta variant behaves uniquely differently from past strains of the virus that cause Covid-19," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a news briefing. "This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendation."
The announcement marked a reversal of the organization's guidance from May 13 that only unvaccinated individuals needed to wear face coverings while in public.
On Monday, Orange County, Florida — home to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando — announced that they are currently in "crisis mode" after experiencing a surge in cases of COVID-19.
Orange County Chief Executive Officer Jerry L. Demings, who is referred to as the mayor of the county, addressed the public on Monday to discuss the sudden increase of coronavirus cases in the area, stressing the community's need to rally together and be safe.
"These numbers are extraordinary. We are seeing nearly 1,000 new cases in Orange County daily. Those are the numbers we saw at the highest peak last year," Demings said during a press conference. "So a thousand a day is extraordinary. We are now in crisis mode."
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"Many of you cannot afford to get sick," Demings continued, noting the spread of the Delta variant, which new data from the CDC revealed is now the most common form of the COVID-19 virus circulating in the United States.
"Many of you do not want to get sick. You do not want to infect your family members, just like me. So, the time really is now — like no other time in our community — for you to step up to the plate and get vaccinated," Demings continued. "We, as a community, need to work together to slow the spread."
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.