Walt Disney World tightens mask restrictions, closes major loophole

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Walt Disney World welcomed fans back to the theme park last week, reopening for the first time since it closed due to the coronavirus pandemic in March with limited seating capacity and a large number of safety rules in place – including the requirement for face covers for all customers 2 years of age and older. However, the mandatory mask mandate had an official exception for eating and drinking and now Walt Disney World had to make a major clarification to this exception. Now, if you want to retire to eat or drink while you’re at the theme park, you’ll have to stand still during that time.

Walt Disney World has officially updated its advice on face covers to limit removal of masks, noting that guests can remove them while swimming or eating, noting in particular that “you can remove the face covering while eating or actively drinking, but you must be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distance. ”

(Photo: Walt Disney World)

It’s unclear exactly what prompted this clarification, although several sites devoted to Disney news, including Mickey Blog and Disney questions, noted that some customers used the exception of eating and drinking as a loophole, carrying food or drink without actively consuming it so as not to wear a mask. It was reported that staff had started preventing guests from walking around without masks while eating and drinking and asked them to stay put, which is now official policy.

It should be noted that Disney has introduced places called “relaxation stations” which are designed to give customers a place where they can take off their masks and relax briefly while maintaining a good social distance. The locations of the stations are indicated on all the maps and distributed in the parks.

With COVID-19 cases in Florida, it’s unclear how long Walt Disney World and other public attractions will be able to remain open, although it’s clear that safety precautions – including masks – will stay. Disney Parks President Josh D’Amaro recently described the situation as a “new normal”.

“We’re in a new normal right now, so what’s going on outside the gates of Walt Disney World is our new world,” D’Amaro said. “I think you know we were one of the first theme parks to close, and we’ll be on the last to open. And we spent every minute of every day thinking about how to function in this new normal that we are in.

“I am extremely proud of this group in terms of what they have put in place from a protocol standpoint and their ability to open up in a progressive and truly responsible way,” he added. “I was lucky enough to walk on Main Street just a few minutes ago. We feel really good in the park. So yes, the world is a different place, but we really feel ready to operate in this new environment that we are in. ”

What do you think of Disney World’s clarification regarding its mask policy? Let us know in the comments below.

Cover photo: Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel / Tribune News Service via Getty Images.
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.

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