What Orange County’s “Crisis Mode” Means For Florida Theme Parks

in Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World

Disney World crowds

Credit: Inside the Magic Kelly C.

As a new COVID-19 variant, known as the Delta variant, continues to spread, Orange County, Florida, is now in “crisis mode,” according to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

Florida is one of the states being hit the hardest by the new Delta variant as they have seen a massive uptick in COVID-19 cases in recent days and weeks.

So, what does this mean for Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort? Here’s everything we know.

Orange County, Florida, Now In “Crisis Mode”

Disney World crowds
Credit: Inside the Magic Kelly C.

Related: Disney CEO Comments on How Delta Variant May Impact Disney Parks

As COVID cases rise in Florida, Orange County — where both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando are located — is in “crisis mode”.

Per reporter Greg Angel on Twitter, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings stated that they are now in “crisis mode” as nearly 1,000 new COVID cases are being reported each day:

NOW: Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings: “We’re now in crisis mode”.

Nearly 1,000 new COVID cases each day. Positivity rate now at 13.9%, compared to 2.8% at the end of June.

Mayor Demings continued to state that this is comparable to the county’s highest COVID-19 peak last year:

“This is comparable to the highest peak last year.” Demings says last year it took a month to get to 1,000 cases per day and now we’re back daily.

960 new COVID cases Saturday
1,052 new COVID cases Friday

1,400 people in Orange County to date have died.

The Orange County Mayor urged Floridians to get vaccinated as a majority of the new COVID cases were of those who are not yet vaccinated:

95% of new cases and deaths are those who are UNVACCINATED. Demings says that’s the beat of the drum you’ll hear again and again.

Testing at Barnett Park is overwhelming, so OC is eyeing a second site. numerous free test locations, including CVS and Walgreens.

What Does This Mean For Disney World and Universal Orlando?

Disney World crowds
Credit: Inside the Magic Kelly C.

Related: Disney World Unions Still In Vaccine Mandate Negotiations

Both Orlando theme Parks have been watching the CDC guidelines and adjusting their protocols based on both CDC recommendations and Orange County guidelines throughout this unprecedented time. At the time of publication, neither of the major Orlando theme Park resorts — Disney World and Universal — has released a statement or adjusted its current safety protocols. However, now that Orange County, Florida, is in “crisis mode,” perhaps it is more likely for the theme Parks to have to make some changes.

Possible changes include a modification to the face mask policy, which is currently optional in both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, or social distancing. The theme parks could once again require face masks in indoor locations or bring back six feet of social distancing in certain locations, though nothing has been confirmed at the time of publication. Right now, Disney and Universal are not enforcing the use of face masks or social distancing at their Florida theme parks, but if Orange County, FL, makes changes to their policies or if their face mask recommendations become requirements, then perhaps we will see Disney World and Universal Orlando modify their health and safety guidelines, as well.

Inside the Magic will continue to update you as we get information.

Galaxys Edge crowds
Credit: Inside the Magic

At the time of publication, the CDC guidelines remain the same and the website states:

If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did before the pandemic without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by laws, rules, regulations, or local guidance.

Members of your family who are unvaccinated, have weakened immune systems, or underlying medical conditions need to continue to take steps to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Disney World crowds sitting in the theatre
Credit: Inside the Magic Kelly C.

When it comes to its current health guidelines, the Disney World website currently reads:

As we have done since reopening, we’ve been very intentional and gradual in our approach to our COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Based on recent trends and guidance, Walt Disney World Resort will be making more adjustments to these measures, including physical distancing and face coverings. These measures may change at any time without notice.

We encourage people to get vaccinated.

Disney World crowds
Credit: Inside the Magic

Universal Orlando’s website contains similar guidelines and says:

In accordance with CDC guidelines, face coverings are no longer required for fully vaccinated guests, indoors or outdoors. While we do not require proof of vaccination, we do expect those who are not fully vaccinated to wear face coverings while indoors. We encourage all guests to keep a safe distance between travel parties, and we remain focused on maintaining the highest cleanliness and sanitization standards.

People standing in front of Cinderella´s castle
Credit: Inside the Magic

Again, please keep in mind that at the time of publication, Disney World has not made any comments on whether it is considering making changes to its mask mandates or safety protocols at this time.

A Universal Studios spokesperson told Forbes magazine in an email that it is not currently considering changing its mask policy; however, if the CDC changes course, the two Orlando Resorts could follow suit, or they may make the changes independent of any guidelines.

Inside the Magic will keep you updated if any changes are made to the parks.

Do you think Disney World or Universal Orlando will make changes to its protocols? Let us know in the comments below.

in Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World

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