Disney rejects DeSantis mask order for Florida's theme parks

Disney rejects DeSantis mask order for Florida's theme parks
State of Florida, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) may have signed new legislation ending all COVID-related government mandates, restrictions and mask requirements but Disney is making it clear that their parks will not be following in the governor's footsteps.

According to Newsweek, Disney World has added a pop-up alert on its My Disney Experience mobile app that acknowledges DeSantis' latest order. However, the entertainment resort complex made it clear they will continue to enforce their current COVID guidelines, which also includes requirements for face-coverings.

"We are aware of the state of Florida's plans announced today to modify COVID-19 guidelines. We will evaluate this latest guidance and maintain our current health and safety measures at this time, including face-covering requirements."

On Monday, May 3, Jason Cochran, author of the Frommer's travel guide for Disney, took to Twitter with a screenshot of Disney's message and a post that included his interpretation of Disney's message. "Translation: 'Sit down, Ron DeSantis. We'll decide what's good for our business, not you.' We know who has the real power in Florida."

Disney's announcement came just one day after the Republican governor's press conference on Monday where he announced the suspension of all COVID-related safety measures and guidelines. "In terms of what a supermarket or some of them choose to do, a Disney theme park, this [the latest legislation] does not deal with that one way or another," DeSantis said.

He added, "It's simply emergency orders and emergency penalties on individual businesses."

While the state of Florida did not have a statewide mask mandate, there have been local mandates in some select parts of the state including Orange County where Disney World theme parks are located in Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Disney's website has current guidance that reads: "Acceptable face coverings must be worn over your nose and mouth at all times, except in designated areas. If you're unable to do this, please consider rescheduling your Walt Disney World Resort visit to a later time."

Disney World also indicated that it would continue to evaluate guidance and adjust measures accordingly as more Americans are vaccinated.

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