ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed an executive order ending all local COVID-19 emergency orders in the state, but two of Central Florida's major theme parks are staying the course for now.

What You Need To Know

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed executive order lifting local COVID emergency orders

  • Theme parks in Central Florida have had safety measures in place since reopening last year

  • Disney World says its current measures, including a mask mandate, will remain for now

​DeSantis' executive order affects local government ordinances, so private businesses in the state — such as theme parks — can continue their mask mandates and other restrictions.

A day after the announcement, Disney World added a statement to its website, saying its health and safety measures, including face mask requirements, will remain the same for now.

“We are aware of the state of Florida’s plan to modify COVID-19 guidelines,” reads the statement. “We will evaluate the latest guidance and maintain our current health and safety measures at this time, including face covering requirements. We will continue to make thoughtful adjustments to our policy. As COVID-19 vaccines become available, we encourage people to get vaccinated.”

DeSantis’ order comes days after Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced a plan to roll back COVID-19 restrictions in three phases. Phase 1, which went into effect last Wednesday, allows physical distancing to be reduced from 6 feet to 3 feet in all settings. Phase 2 would allow face mask requirements for outdoors to be lifted provided at least 50% of the population 16 and older have received the vaccine.

Universal Orlando previously said it would continue to operate under its existing protocols, which includes mandatory face masks and six feet of social distancing. SeaWorld has not announced any plans to change its health and safety measures.

When it comes to COVID protocols, Disney World and other area theme parks, since reopening last year, have made modifications to their policies based on guidance from local health officials as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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