Universal globe fountain at Universal Studios Orlando, Florida

Taking a trip to theme parks has come with a whole new set of guidelines and roadblocks than guests have ever experienced this past year. Florida’s biggest theme parks have been open for business since last summer with strict social distancing and mask policies in place. Nearly a year after reopening during COVID-19, Universal Studios Orlando is relaxing mask policies for guests, but with a catch.

Visitors to the Universal Studios park will no longer be required to wear masks while in the outdoor portions of the Orlando, Florida location starting this Saturday. The decision was made just one day after the CDC issued an update giving fully vaccinated people the permission to take their masks off in most places. Theme park spokesperson Tom Schroder made the announcement, while also sharing these specifics:

Face coverings will remain required at all indoor locations, including restaurants, shops, and indoor hotel public areas. Face coverings are also required at all attractions from the moment guests enter the queue to when they exit the experience.

Although Orlando Sentinel reports that Universal Studios’ mask policy is being relaxed following a successful vaccine rollout in the United States, guests will still be asked to bring masks with them during their visit for indoor portions of the park, such as attractions, restaurants, shops and hotel lobbies. It’s an exciting development, especially as Orlando’s sticky summers kick into high gear this weekend.

The announcement is the first major change that has been made to Universal Orlando’s COVID-19 safety guidelines, and its Hollywood location will still abide by its mask policy for the time being. Although the CDC has eased its mask mandate, Los Angeles county is still requiring people to wear masks in public indoor spaces and outside crowded places.

As for the other major Orlando theme park, i.e. Walt Disney World, no updates have been made yet regarding the House of Mouse also relaxing its COVID-19 policies. During Disney’s quarterly earnings call on Thursday, Disney CEO Bob Chapek reportedly hinted at some “very big news” regarding WDW’s mask policy for the summer. He spoke to the state’s especially hot months and his hopes to make upcoming visits “an even more pleasant experience” for guests.

So it sounds like Walt Disney World could be next to implement eased mask policies, along with the CEO expected to allow a higher capacity of guests to visit the theme park daily. Universal Orlando has been slightly ahead of Disney with its policies, such as temperature screenings at the door, which the Universal park ended last weekend and Disney is expected to suspend this upcoming weekend.

Universal Studios Orlando’s most exciting new development coming this summer is the Jurassic World VelociCoaster in the Islands of Adventure. We’ll keep you updated about new developments coming to theme parks here on CinemaBlend.

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