Theme parks reduce mask requirements on CDC guidance

Posted Monday, May 17, 2021 9:26 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Disney World and other U.S. amusement parks updated their mask policy following the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week. Masks have been made optional in outdoor areas and pool decks at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, effective May 15, but are still needed for entering rides and at indoor locations, according to the guidelines posted on its website.

Read more from Reuters.

Monday, May 17, 2021 12:28 PM

I'm genuinely surprised how many people on the crazy WDW forums are condemning this and think it's the worst thing they could have done and are predicting WDW will become a hotspot. Meanwhile I think they could have done it 6 or 7 weeks ago.

I wouldn't have gone to an Indiana Beach or Holiday World during Summer 2020 when we were still learning the science and vaccines weren't yet a glimmer in our eyes. But now, I'm surprised at how many both on WDW websites and in my office are still in full on stay at home warrior mode even a month or more out of being fully vaccinated and think the theme parks are being reckless.

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Monday, May 17, 2021 12:41 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I wonder if it's whiplash more than anything else. (Probably is for me). On Wednesday they were saying "vaccinated people need to wear masks in all situations and continue to maintain social distance" and by Friday, Walmart was saying, "Meh. Do whatever you want in our indoor stores."

I think a bit more lead time and a bit more explanation (all the changes appeared to be in response to the mask guidance for the vaccinated, with little mention of the fact that outdoor transmission isn't and never has been a thing) would have probably reduced the consternation.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Monday, May 17, 2021 12:50 PM
Jeff's avatar

I don't think I would have done it six weeks ago. Vaccination rates were stilly pretty low then. Still, the article about the real likelihood of outdoor transmission really convinced me that going mask-free outdoors, especially with climbing vaccination rates, is safe and justified.

I cut the CDC a little slack, because they spent a year being constrained, and now that they don't have to fight the constraint, they can think about the right way to message stuff, and that's new territory for them in a world where they were often disregarded.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, May 17, 2021 1:02 PM

I've defended the CDC and WHO throughout this, but this move to no masks just seems poorly thought out. Seems to me the guidance should have been to tie mask requirements to county level vaccination rates. Encourage vaccination, and maybe you'll move the needle a bit. Instead, I imagine most people who were still on the fence have little or no reason to get their shot, and that makes things less safe. Maybe not by much, but like Andy, we're more hesitant than a week ago to take our kids anyplace indoors, since they can't yet get vaccinated.


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Monday, May 17, 2021 1:08 PM

BrettV said:

I'm genuinely surprised how many people on the crazy WDW forums are condemning this and think it's the worst thing they could have done and are predicting WDW will become a hotspot.

Sounds par for the course to me.


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Monday, May 17, 2021 2:54 PM
Jeff's avatar

djDaemon said:

Seems to me the guidance should have been to tie mask requirements to county level vaccination rates. Encourage vaccination, and maybe you'll move the needle a bit.

This is exactly the direction that the Orange County mayor wanted to take.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, May 17, 2021 3:03 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

My impression was the CDC wanted to use the mask recommendation as a carrot to encourage vaccination. Sadly it has had the opposite effect.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Monday, May 17, 2021 4:03 PM

The Broward (Ft Lauderdale area) mayor had proposed a gating criteria for the return to normal which looked at data such as vaccination rates and lowered positivity numbers to continue to open things up. That was thrown out the window with DeSantis' orders that took the power away from local jurisdictions. The fact of the matter is that, what is good for Dixie County (in the boondocks) and Dade County (dense population) is not one in the same.

That being said, vaccinations here in South Florida are moving at a pretty good clip. (Older population and, more liberal leaning...surprise). So, our positivity last week as around 4% or so which is a vast improvement.

Listen, there is a lot of guessing going on with this...as has been the case from the beginning. At least I am comforted in knowing that the well-intentioned professionals are not being hogtied by this administration.

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Monday, May 17, 2021 7:30 PM

BrettV said:
...I wouldn't have gone to an Indiana Beach or Holiday World during Summer 2020 when we were still learning the science and vaccines weren't yet a glimmer in our eyes. But now, I'm surprised at how many both on WDW websites and in my office are still in full on stay at home warrior mode even a month or more out of being fully vaccinated and think the theme parks are being reckless.

See, this is where I wonder how far out of sync I am with everybody else. I *did* go to Indiana Beach AND Holiday World in the Summer of 2020 when we were still learning the science and vaccines weren't yet a glimmer in our eyes. And yet, at that time I didn't feel that either park represented an elevated risk scenario. In fact, the only situations where I felt the risk was elevated a bit were on Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain, when the crew thought it necessary to mix parties in a single car with face-to-face seating; and in the extended wait in the "steerage" section of the Voyage station...a hazard that could have been largely mitigated by filling the trains.

The only thing that is new in these CDC pronouncements is the impact of immunization. Outdoor spread of coronavirus has been "not really a thing" since the beginning. That "less than 10%" figure has been around for a very long time, and the logic of outdoor COVID-19 safety is one of those things where the layman's "sniff test*" actually predicts the results of the research. Indoors, the data coming out for the last few months has been pretty clear--we're not seeing a lot of cases coming from retail and restaurants, but we were seeing a lot of cases from dinner parties and social gatherings. Church services are more hazardous than indoor dining. And it makes sense: distance, time, and density. None of that has really changed much. Those are the risk factors I used to decide last summer which things I would do and which things I wouldn't; which things I thought were more hazardous and which were less. And somehow my decisions seem out of sync with a lot of people, sometimes in weird ways.

Ah, well, I guess we all have to draw the line somewhere.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

*Actually, for all things COVID, sniffing is probably a bad idea...

--DCAjr


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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Monday, May 17, 2021 8:24 PM

This was a BAAAD idea by the CDC. People only hear what they want to hear. They heard "masks aren't necessary" but are not hearing the "for vaccinated people part." These parks are now a potential covid fest for the unvaccinated. People are now also ignoring the distancing aspect entirely.

I made the mistake of going to Holiday World last weekend. They require masks at the entrance, and in the buildings. Also all employees wore makes at all times (great for any employer's liability). But masks were not being worn in the crowded queues or ride buidlings or rides. There was also absolutely no distancing in the lines or on the rides there as well.

Based on the % of Americans that are vaccinated, the % of maskless people in crowded situations there was much higher. At least 90% plus of the people were maskless (that is a low estimate) in the ride queues and rides.

I am vaccinated and it made me uncomfortable. Not as much for myself knowing that vaccinated people are OK, but for those that aren't. I still wore my mask in the crowded queues and rides as a courtesy for the employees that were wearing theirs.

This is now a free-for-all. I believe the trigger was pulled too soon to go back to normal.

Last edited by super7*, Monday, May 17, 2021 8:26 PM
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Monday, May 17, 2021 9:17 PM
OhioStater's avatar

It's not just that outdoor transmission has never been a thing, but also the growing evidence that vaccinated people don't transmit it that made this all possible. I do understand that some people are worried about their 12-and-under-kid (I happen to not be).

djDaemon said...

Encourage vaccination, and maybe you'll move the needle a bit. Instead, I imagine most people who were still on the fence have little or no reason to get their shot, and that makes things less safe. Maybe not by much, but like Andy, we're more hesitant than a week ago to take our kids anyplace indoors, since they can't yet get vaccinated.

Can't really argue this, but I think to some degree we are more or less at a point where people have their mind made up. I just don't see how many people are really sitting at home right now "on the fence", honestly looking at data and talking to friends...I would think it's about the same number of people who were genuinely "undecided" before the last presidential election. At this point, you've either gotten the shot, you're going to get the shot, or who believe Tom Hanks is the kingpin of a pedophile ring.

We signed out oldest (13) up for her first dose today, and every single slot was open at Walgreens on the day we picked. Every. Single. Slot.

This didn't stop people from getting the shot, it's part of an acceptance that some people simply aren't going to get it. If that's the case, what's the point of continuing restrictions?

That said, I expected a more step-wise approach to help people that are anxious about the 12 and under crowd to keep getting out there. That is, keeping indoor masks necessary and social distancing.

Last edited by OhioStater, Monday, May 17, 2021 11:03 PM

Promoter of fog.

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Monday, May 17, 2021 9:25 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I know it's anecdotal, but NPR did a bunch of interview of people who went from hesitant to getting the shot. A number of different motivators worked including seeing a bunch of other people get it, seeing friends continue to get Covid, ads/messaging, and not being allowed to go certain places/do certain thing (Yankee games was the one I remember, but I know a lot of colleges are doing it). If there were more of the latter (you must be vaccinated to X) I think that would actually encourage a lot of people. I mean, imagine if Disneyland went no-mask vax-only. They wouldn't be struggling for customers and that would get a lot of shots into a lot of arms. Of course, what's their motivation for doing so?

This "please be honest when you rip off your mask" business is sort of silly.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Monday, May 17, 2021 9:57 PM

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Monday, May 17, 2021 9:46 PM
OhioStater's avatar

I would love to be wrong about how many people are actually on the fence. I'm also admittingly talking about of my ass to some degree, because everything I wrote is also anecdotal.

I would say we have two real motivators left: 1)"get vaxxed if you want to do X"...or...2) "prove that you got vaxxed and we will give you X".


Promoter of fog.

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Monday, May 17, 2021 10:47 PM

There is a portion of the population that will either not take it at all or is going to wait for some time and can't be rushed. Some of them just because and some of them for good reasons that really aren't anyone elses to judge. Some people try to make it appear that the hold outs are why there won't be eradication but I doubt eradication was ever truly on the table to begin with so we may as well just move forward. My anecdotal experience is that for every person I have known personally that has died of Covid I know someone who has either had a really bad experience with a vaccination in the past, has had a bad experience with this one or has been told by their personal doctor that based on their doctor's personal knowledge at this point in time of possible complications and their specific health concerns they are better off as an individual taking their chances with the virus than getting vaccinated. Things are more complicated than if we make things inconvenient or dangle a prize in front of them everyone will get vaccinated. For some that may be convincing but for others the decision is far more complicated.

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Monday, May 17, 2021 10:59 PM
OhioStater's avatar

And speaking of prizes, Dewine for the win....

Ohio sees biggest boost in almost a month after vax-lottery announced...


Promoter of fog.

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Monday, May 17, 2021 11:02 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

600,000 Americans never died from a vaccine.

It may be a personal decision, but aside from ultra rare exceptions it's absurd to say that your health, not to mention community health, is better off without the vaccine than with. Are there people with good reasons that we shouldn't judge? Maybe. Is the 60% of America that hasn't gotten a vaccine in that camp? 59.999% of them aren't.

As soon as my kids can get the vaccine, I won't especially care about vax holdouts, but I'll still think they're wrong.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Monday, May 17, 2021 11:04 PM
Jeff's avatar

Paisley said:

Some of them just because and some of them for good reasons that really aren't anyone elses to judge.

I'm pretty set on judging. The rare bona fide medical reason not to, sure, I'll give them a pass. Everyone else? No. Double no if they're the asshats who were like, "Mah freedom and my haircuts!" Suck it up and get the shot for everyone else.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, May 17, 2021 11:45 PM
sirloindude's avatar

The people who are like, “Mah freedom!,” or the conspiracy theorists, okay, but I can think of a few honestly genuine reasons for not getting it *just yet* that aren’t necessarily medical inability to get it and that deserve a bit more understanding. I got mine, and so has much of my family, but there are a few hold-outs right now that have some reasons to which I grant a bit of latitude.


13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

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Monday, May 17, 2021 11:49 PM
OhioStater's avatar

Like what?


Promoter of fog.

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