Florida theme parks requiring workers to wear masks again

Saturday, July 31, 2021 | The Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld are the latest theme park resorts in Florida to again ask visitors to wear masks indoors, with Universal also ordering its employees to wear face coverings to protect against COVID-19, which has been surging across the state.

All workers at Universal's Florida park on Saturday started being required to wear masks while indoors as the employees returned to practicing social distancing. The home to Harry Potter and Despicable Me rides also asked visitors to follow federal and local health guidelines by voluntarily wearing face coverings indoors.

“The health and safety of our guests and team members is always our top priority," Universal said in a statement.

Health officials on Friday announced that coronavirus cases in Florida had jumped 50% over the past week with COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state nearing last year’s peak.

SeaWorld on Saturday posted on its website that it was recommending that visitors follow recently updated federal recommendations and wear face coverings while indoors.

The change in policy this week at the theme park resorts came after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that everyone wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Crosstown rival Walt Disney World started requiring employees and guests older than 2 to wear masks on Friday, but it also went a step further. The Walt Disney Company said in a statement that it will be requiring all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the U.S. who work on site to be fully vaccinated.

Disney employees who aren’t already vaccinated will have 60 days to do so and those still working from home will need to show proof of vaccination before returning. Disney said it was discussing the vaccine requirements with the union, and added that all new hires will be required to be fully vaccinated before starting work at the company.

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