Slowly but surely, theme parks are dropping their mask mandates in outdoor locations. Since many parks reopened last year, the standard has been that all guests must wear a face-covering during their visit to the park. Naturally, this comes with exceptions like taking photos and eating or drinking. Clearly, certain parks enforce their own rules more than others.
Most notably, Dollywood was the first major theme park to life their mask mandate last week. The park now requires guests to wear a mask upon entry to the park. This is basically to show that they bring one. However, you are not required to don a mask unless you are indoors, in the queue of or on an attraction. In other words, you can roam the park mask free. In addition, there are no more temperature checks at the front entrance. Only a self-assessment of your own health. According to their own website, the reason for this change was due to the CDC:
As knowledge about COVID-19 has evolved, the CDC updated its recommendations and guidelines related to COVID-19. We are confident that our updated policies, which follow the CDC’s guidelines, will make our properties even more accessible while maintaining a safe and family-friendly environment.
Now Cedar Point and King’s Island are lifting even more restrictions in their Ohio parks. Not only are they not requiring masks outdoors and no temperature screenings. They are also not requiring masks on attractions either. That is only recommended, not enforced. Basically the only time you will have to wear a mask at Cedar Fair’s Ohio parks is while indoors. That’s right, you don’t even have to wear a face-covering while in a queue.
In addition, they are making it clear that they will no longer social distance on rides. That means no extra rows between parties. It also means sitting two parties of two together on a roller coaster that seats four across. Basically, the only time you will have to wear a mask is when indoors. Which at these parks is very little.
Now the question becomes: what parks will be next? Today the CDC issued guidance saying that mask wearing outdoors with other vaccinated people when you can be socially distant is ok. However, when in a mixed group where people are crammed together is not. That means that theme parks, stadiums and large group events, they still recommend wearing a mask.
Yet parks like Dollywood and Cedar Point and King’s Island have already made the leap beyond the CDC guidelines. Is it the right move? And what other theme parks will implement these guidelines next? Time will tell, but we still have a long way to return to normal for many of the bigger theme parks. The return of character meet and greets, fireworks, indoor stage shows and more still is in limbo until these policies can change. What are your thoughts? About time or too much, too soon?
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