Disney Updates Facemask Policy After Guests Find Eating And Walking Loophole

by Leah Groth
Originally Published: 
Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney World Resort via Getty Images

Walt Disney World is no longer allowing guests to eat and drink while walking, in order to ensure masks are worn at all times

When Disney first announced they were reopening their Orlando, Florida theme parks in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, people had seriously mixed feelings about it. However, management insisted that they were taking serious precautions to minimize the spread of the highly infectious and potentially deadly virus that has already infected nearly 4 million Americans. Some of the modifications Disney enacted for this new era include reduced capacities, a thorough cleaning schedule, and of course, requiring patrons to wear masks at all times. The only exception to the mask rule is while someone is eating or drinking, as it is impossible to keep one on. But according to multiple reports, the “eating and drinking” loophole has become an issue, so much so that Disney has banned eating or drinking while walking.

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According to popular Disney Blogs Walt Disney World News Today and Mickey Blog, guests are now required to remain stationary while sipping or snacking and must wear a mask at all times while moving around the theme park. Walt Disney World also updated its official policy, which now states that “you may remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking but you should be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing.”

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World News Today asked an EPCOT Cast Member about the new policy, who informed them that “guests are now being asked to find a safe spot six feet from other guests before removing their masks to eat and drink.”

Keep in mind that if you do need to take a break from wearing your protective face coverings, “relaxation stations” around the parks have been set up. In these covered spaces, guests can remove their masks and take a breather, while socially distancing.

Since reopening, guests have been swarming Disney’s theme parks and sharing photos of their experiences, wearing masks, of course. In fact, one of the ways Disney is enforcing patrons to keep their masks on — even while on rides — is with a “no mask, no photo” policy. Basically, if you break the rules and take off your mask on a ride, they will refuse to give you your Disney-branded photo from popular rides such as Splash Mountain, The Haunted Mansion, and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin.

However, despite all the precautions Disney has put in place, some guests have complained that they still didn’t feel safe at the park. Theme park journalist Carlye Wisel tweeted that while there were hand sanitizing stations and increased cleanings between rides, there was “absolutely no distancing” — even at the front gates of the park.

“This is not OK. This is not OK,” she tweeted, showing the long lines at entry and the lack of distancing among guests.

The state of Florida is not only experiencing record-breaking COVID-19 infections but is also seeing a huge surge in pediatric coronavirus cases. The positivity rate among those under 18 who are tested for the virus is 31.1% — compared to an overall positivity rate in the state of just 18.1%.

It’s wild that the park is open during the pandemic, but at the very least, Disney is taking mask-wearing very seriously.

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