Face coverings will no longer be required at Universal Orlando for vaccinated guests

Feb 11, 2022

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Visitors headed to one Florida theme park this weekend are in for a big COVID-19 policy change.

Universal Orlando just announced a major adjustment to its face-covering policies, according to WDW News Today. From Saturday, Feb. 12, fully vaccinated visitors will no longer need to wear face masks, either outdoors or indoors. This includes all restaurants, shops, transportation and indoor hotel public areas.

Unvaccinated guests are still encouraged to wear face coverings whenever they are indoors.

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Photo of Universal Orlando taken on July 17, 2021 (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

At the end of 2021, amid the omicron coronavirus surge, Universal Orlando made face coverings mandatory at all indoor public locations for guests and team members, regardless of vaccination status.

Today’s announcement may come as a surprise to many, as it follows a week when Florida’s COVID-19 positivity rates jumped to 20% — albeit down from a record high of 34% (from Jan. 3 to Jan. 9, 2022).

“We are updating our policy for face coverings based on local trends and conditions,” senior manager of public relations for Universal Orlando, Kristen Clark Smith, told TPG.

In August of 2021, Walt Disney adjusted its face mask policies after new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance came out recommending the use of indoor face masks by both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in areas of significant COVID-19 spread.

Currently, the entire state of Florida meets the CDC criteria for “substantial transmission” — 50 to 100 cases per 100,000, or a positivity rate between 8% and 10%.

At this time, Disney still mandates that all guests 2 and older wear masks in all indoor locations, including restaurants, indoor queues and transportation, regardless of vaccination status.

Related: Face masks on flights could be here for years to come, according to experts 

Time will tell to what extent there is a ripple effect with Universal’s sudden face-covering policy shift. After all, we’ve seen throughout the pandemic that when one major Florida theme park introduces or lifts pandemic precautions, the others have quickly followed.

Additional reporting by Summer Hull. 

Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.

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