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Orange County, Home To Disney World, Announces Phased Plan To Eliminate Masks

Jerry Demings, the Mayor of Orange County, Florida, announced changes to the local government’s executive orders concerning COVID-19.

Social Distancing

Demings said that effective immediately, he is reducing physical distancing requirements from six feet to three feet.  This applies to all settings, including theme parks.

A tweet reports that Demings has been in contact with Orlando theme parks, and that “As they manage the lines for those outdoor settings… and even indoor, they’re able to increase capacity as a result of that.”

Mask Requirements

Changes to mask usage will happen in two phases, based on levels of vaccination.

Phase 1: After 50% of the population over the age of 16 is vaccinated, people will no longer need to wear a mask outside.

Phase 2: After 80% of the population over the age of 16 has received their first dose of vaccine, and/or the 14-day rolling positivity rate for Orange County is 5% or lower, people will no longer need to wear a mask indoors.

Note that as of April 19, about 30% of Orange County residents had one dose of the vaccine, so the country still has a way to go to hit either the 50% or the 80% target.

Disney World Impact

Note that, while most Disney property is located in Orange County, the theme parks and resorts are on private property, and they can make rules that are more strict than those of the county.  Changes in county requirements do not necessarily translate into immediate changes to Disney policy.

That said, Disney can’t reduce social distancing or mask requirements until the county allows it, so these announcements provide a possible way forward that, in time, may change social distancing and mask requirements.

Glad that Orange County has a plan to eliminate mask-wearing?