Universal Orlando resumes indoor mask mandate

The policy will take effect Christmas Eve.

Universal Orlando Resort is reinstating a mask mandate for indoor areas at the resort’s theme parks, hotels, restaurants and shops starting Christmas Eve.

The resort announced Wednesday it is revising its safety guidelines again, returning to indoor masking for both patrons and employees regardless of vaccination status.

The resort joins Walt Disney World, which already is requiring masks for everyone age 2 or older, in indoor areas. SeaWorld Orlando is recommending but not requiring face coverings indoors.

Universal updated its guidance as the winter surge of COVID-19 has taken hold in Florida and has been ravaging Northern states for weeks. Many of Orlando’s tens of thousands of visitors are traveling from Northern states for the Christmas and New Year’s holiday break.

“The health and safety of our guests and team members is always our top priority. As a result, face coverings will now be required, effective Friday, Dec. 24, 2021, at all public indoor locations within Universal Orlando Resort for both guests and team members regardless of vaccination status — including restaurants, shops, and indoor hotel public areas,” Universal stated in an announcement on its website. “Face coverings are also required at all attractions from the moment guests enter the queue to when they exit the experience.”

The theme park resorts brought back mask mandates last summer. The COVID-19 summer surge ravaged Florida, infecting more than a million people statewide and leading to more than 18,000 deaths in Florida during the summer months.

With the autumn lull of the pandemic, Universal dropped its mask mandate in November.

In its updated guidance, Universal advised that patrons are expected to bring their own face coverings. The resort is not requiring proof of vaccination but is asking all visitors to confirm they are not feeling sick or experiencing flu-like symptoms, have not been in contact with someone known or suspected of COVID-19 symptoms, and are not under any self-quarantine orders.

“If you cannot confirm all of the above, you must refrain from visiting,” the advisory states.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


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