The Universal Park of Orlando, in Florida (USA), stops requiring masks from this Saturday to all visitors and employees who have the complete vaccination schedule against covid-19. The measure came into force after the firm on Friday reported this new update of its health policy to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, this after imposing the use of masks in its facilities almost two months ago when the number of cases skyrocketed as a result of the ómicron variant.
Universal will continue to require face coverings for employees who are not vaccinated and will recommend the same to visitors in that same situation. The theme park said the new guidelines come in light of the downward trend in the number of infected and hospitalized in Florida.
In a Friday message, the company said it was updating its face-covering policy “based on local trends and conditions.” The resort is still encouraging unvaccinated visitors to wear masks indoors. It’s unclear if Universal will continue to require employees to mask up inside the resort’s attractions, shops, and restaurants. Spokespeople for the resort did not immediately respond to requests for additional information.
Orange County’s latest COVID-19 update, issued Feb. 2, showed infection rates were declining countywide but one in four tests was still resulting positive. Orange County still has high community COVID-19 transmission, with an 18.5% positivity rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Based on county statistics, the agency recommends everyone wear masks in public, indoor areas. Universal Orlando has constantly shifted its mask requirements during the pandemic.
The latest major update, issued in December during a busy holiday season and a spike in the omicron variant, mandated masks indoors for all visitors and staff regardless of their vaccination status. In January, the company briefly changed its policy to require employees to be vaccinated or mask up and test for COVID-19 weekly, but it rescinded those requirements before they would have taken effect in February.
Universal Orlando’s indoor mask requirement for guests was previously dropped in May, while its policy for vaccinated employees was paused in November before being reinstated the next month.