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Disney World visitors may be wearing masks through 2021

Disney CEO Bob Chapek has confirmed that visitors to Walt Disney World Resort will likely be wearing face coverings and masks through 2021.

theme parks coronavirus guests wearing masks at Epcot Disney

During an earnings call on Thursday (February 11), Chapek also revealed that guests at Disney theme parks may not need to wear masks by 2022 (via CNBC).

“We have no doubt that when we reopen up in parks that were closed, or increase capacity, that we will have some level of social distancing and mask wearing for the remainder of this year. That is our expectation,” said Chapek.

Disneyland Paris was closed again on October 30, 2020, while Hong Kong Disneyland Resort shut on December 2, 2020. Walt Disney World Resort and Shanghai Disney Resort were open through the first quarter of 2021.

Disney hopes to drop masks in 2022

walt disney world reopening

“Dr Fauci said earlier today that he hopes there’s vaccines for everyone who wants them by April this year,” added Chapek.

“If that happens, that is a game changer, and that could accelerate our expectations and give people the confidence that they need to come back to the parks.

“Will there be some overlap until we know that we have hit herd immunity? Sure there will. But do we also believe that we will be in the same state of six-foot social distancing and mask wearing in 2022? Absolutely not.”

Disneyland Resort has been closed since March 2020. California state lawmakers have proposed legislation to reopen theme parks before they are allowed to under Governor Gavin Newsom‘s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

“Mask wearing for the remainder of this year”

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Last week, the Walt Disney Company reported earnings for its first quarter ended January 2, 2021, revealing a $2.6bn hit for Disney theme parks.

Disney Parks, Experiences and Products experienced the most significant impact on operating income, with parks and resorts closed temporarily or operating at significantly reduced capacity due to COVID-19.

“We have ample demand for our parks,” said Chapek. “Guests have consistently demonstrated a willingness and a desire to visit, which we believe is a testament to the fact that they feel confident in the health and safety protocols we’ve put in place.”

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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