Walt Disney World drops remaining face mask requirements; character meet-and-greets return

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Walt Disney World has said goodbye to its remaining face mask requirements.

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According to WFTV, the park, which had required both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests to wear masks on buses and monorails, updated its coronavirus policy this week to make face coverings optional in all areas.

>> RELATED STORY: Federal judge voids national mask mandate for travelers

“Face coverings are optional for guests in both outdoor and indoor locations, as well as Disney transportation,” the park’s website said Tuesday. “It is recommended guests who are not fully vaccinated continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations, including indoor attractions and theaters and on enclosed transportation.”

Disney also began to reintroduce character meet-and-greets at U.S. sites Monday.

“As early as April 18, we will start reintroducing traditional character greetings at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, as well as aboard Disney Cruise Line,” Disney Parks announced in a blog post last month. “That’s right! Very soon, you will once again be able to hug Mickey Mouse, get an autograph from Mulan and share a laugh with Goofy. We know many of you have missed these special moments, and your Disney character friends have missed you, too!”

Several major airlines, airports and attractions are making face coverings optional after a federal judge in Florida voided a national mask mandate for airplanes and other public transportation on Monday, The Associated Press reported. In a statement Monday night, the Transportation Security Administration said it “will no longer enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs.”

The news came as the rate of new COVID-19 cases appeared to be rising domestically, according to The New York Times. As of Monday, the U.S. was averaging 39,152 new cases per day, up 43% from two weeks earlier, the newspaper reported. Fatalities, however, were on the decline. On Monday, the U.S. averaged 425 deaths per day – a decrease of 33% from 14 days earlier, the Times reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday that 65.9% of the U.S. population is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 45.4% of fully vaccinated residents have received a booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the agency said.

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