Disney examines mask policy, theme park capacity after updated CDC guidelines

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Walt Disney Co. officials on Thursday hinted they are looking into updating their mask policy following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that fully-vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks in most settings. 

Disney CEO Bob Chapek in an earnings call with analysts said that the new guidance was a welcomed update as the parks have been looking to increase capacity following a year of financial losses amid coronavirus lockdown orders and safety restrictions. 

“Today’s guidance that we got from the CDC in terms of those that were vaccinated do not necessarily need to wear masks anymore, both outdoors and indoors, is very big news for us,” Chapek said in the call, according to USA Today

Disney said that the CDC’s mask guidance for those fully vaccinated could also attract more customers, as its Orlando Disney World theme park has already been increasing capacities based on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) executive order canceling all remaining local coronavirus-era restrictions. 

“Particularly if anybody’s been in Florida in the middle of the summer with a mask on, that could be quite daunting,” Chapek said Thursday. “We think that’s going to make for an even more pleasant experience.”

Chapek later explained in an interview on CNBC that there’s “going to be a lot more comfortable people this summer in Orlando. You can only imagine what it’d be like in 95 degrees and 95 percent humidity wearing a mask, so we’re thrilled to be able to do that.”

Disney currently requires all of its theme park guests to wear face coverings at all times, except for when they are actively eating or drinking, or taking a photo in an outdoor portion of the park. 

Chapek revealed in the earnings call Thursday that Disney’s theme parks experienced a loss in revenue of 44 percent — to $3.2 billion — in the second fiscal quarter amid continued lockdown orders and safety restrictions. 

Revenue could boost, however, with the new mask guidance, especially after Disney just reopened its California Disneyland park on April 30 after it remained closed for over a year. 

Earlier this month, Disney World announced that it would be ending temperature checks, first for cast members and later for park guests by May 16. 

“We will continue to follow the guidance of health and safety leaders going forward and most importantly encourage people to get vaccinated,” Disney said in an announcement at the time.

Tags Bob Chapek California Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; CDC Disney Disneyland face mask mandate Florida Ron DeSantis The Walt Disney Co. walt disney world
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