Disney World closes face mask loophole by banning eating and drinking while walking

Jul 21, 2020

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Disney World’s phased reopening came with a number of new safety protocols. But the changes keep coming.

It’s been just over a week since the parks reopened and Disney has already modified its face mask requirements.

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Since the parks reopened, visitors have been required to wear a face mask at all times, except while eating or swimming. However, Disney is now also requiring visitors to remain in one place while eating and at least six feet from other guests before removing masks to eat and drink.

“Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members. Please bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming. You may remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking, but you should be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing,” the updated guidelines on Disney’s website read. This rule applies not only to the theme park, but also to Disney Springs, and hotel and resort common areas.

Guests must now go to a designated “mask relaxation zone” with distanced tables or similar if they need to remove their masks for any reason, including to cool down. This change was done in an effort to combat the mask loophole created by the dining exception. Under the original policy, guests were able to roam throughout the parks mask-free as long as they sipping drinks or eating Mickey-shaped pretzels.

Related: Inside Disney World’s grand reopening day

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

In addition to wearing face masks, Disney World requires visitors to make advance reservations to get into the theme parks, undergo temperature screenings and stand in socially distanced lines for rides. Disney is also limiting capacity and increasing cleanings, though ride vehicles and tables at quick-serve restaurants are not cleaned between each guest.

All of this comes as coronavirus cases are surging, especially in Florida which now has over 360,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19. Some of the nation’s largest hotel chains, including Marriott and Hyatt, are now requiring guests to wear masks in public spaces as well.

Related: 5 Disney World changes I hope are permanent

Featured image by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.


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