POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – As coronavirus vaccines become more widely available, more people may be willing to enter central Florida theme parks.
Guests need to be aware of policy changes. If not, they could become the latest star of a viral video.
In recent days, a man claiming to have spent $15,000 on his vacation was escorted out of Disney Springs after refusing to go through the temperature check.
In March, authorities arrested a man they say spit on a security guard at a Disney resort after refusing to wear a mask.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings weighed in on the Disney Springs incident this week.
He called it a “rarity.”
“When our compliance teams go out and inspect the businesses, they find 99% compliance,” Mayor Demings said.
Mayor Demings also said during this briefing Monday, COVID-19 is “alive and well” in Orange County and urged people to continue to follow CDC guidelines.
Tampa police tell 8 On Your Side officers have trespassed at least five people from Busch Gardens for mask-related violations.
Officers have not had to remove anyone from LEGOLAND Florida for mask-related violations, according to Winter Haven Police.
Disney World changed its mask policy this week to allow guests to take off their masks while they having their picture taken outdoors, effective Thursday.
Central Florida theme parks opened in June and July of 2020, with strict rules in place, as other cities and states remained on lockdown.
Some public health experts were holding their breath.
“We were all concerned about community spread and the extent to which the theme parks would be able to control groupings of people,” said Dr. Jay Wolfson, professor of public health and medicine at University of South Florida.
In the time since, however, Dr. Wolfson says Disney World has been successful and led by example.
He thinks an incremental change in policy is the right move.
“God forbid one of these new variants gets nasty and comes back into our community and then we have to reinsert these requirements. Staging it down is a healthy approach,” said Wolfson.
Masks are encouraged at LEGOLAND Florida and required indoors and on attractions.
Temperature checks are done at all of the parks, Disney Springs, Universal CityWalk, and some of the resorts.
Orange County, where Disney World and Universal Studios are located, is under a mask mandate.
Mayor Demings said it may be lifted in the next few months if more than 50% of people in the county are vaccinated.