Visitors at Disneyland
Visitors pass through Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in May. Starting Friday, masks will be required indoors at the park, regardless of vaccination status.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Recovery & Reopening

Disneyland, some other parks are requiring masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status

Disneyland, Universal Studios and Magic Mountain are among the California parks returning to stricter mask requirements amid the latest COVID-19 surge. In Santa Cruz, the Boardwalk has not implemented any mask or vaccination mandates for visitors but mirrors county recommendations on wearing masks indoors and in crowded spaces.

Responding to state and local health officials’ recommendations, Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and other theme parks will require guests to wear masks in all indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.

State public health officials issued the recommendations Wednesday that all vaccinated Californians wear masks in public indoor settings in response to the continued surge of COVID-19 cases. The state had previously recommended that unvaccinated people continue to wear masks indoors.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk had not instituted any mandatory vaccine verifications or mask policies as of Wednesday afternoon, with spokesperson Kris Reyes telling Lookout’s Neil Streibig that the Boardwalk is mirroring Santa Cruz County’s current guidance on the issue: recommending masks indoors for all persons and in crowded outdoor spaces.

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Businesses or venues are permitted to institute vaccine requirements or stricter mask requirements, and some Santa Cruz-area businesses have already begun doing so, including Moe’s Alley and DNA’s Comedy Lab.

Disneyland’s website said the new mask requirement starts Friday. Face coverings will be required for all guests 2 years old and up while indoors, including on attractions and enclosed transportation vehicles. Face coverings will remain optional in outdoor areas of the theme park.

Disneyland had previously reminded parkgoers that the state recommends that all visitors be vaccinated or take a COVID-19 test prior to visiting the park, but Disneyland employees have not been asking visitors for proof of status.

Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia began requiring masks for all guests, regardless of vaccination status, on July 18, in response to a mandate from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health that all residents wear masks in public indoor locations.

In a statement announcing the change, Six Flags Magic Mountain said: “It is still highly recommended that unvaccinated guests always wear a mask while in the park.”

Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park still allows fully vaccinated park visitors to go without a mask, according to the park’s website.

State and local health officials returned to recommending masks in indoor public settings in response to a surge of cases and hospitalizations across California driven by the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. Vaccines have proved somewhat less effective against the variant, although the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths have occurred among the unvaccinated.

The recommendation is more expansive than the guidance issued Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which advised people to wear masks while in public indoor areas only where community transmission is considered “substantial” or “high.” Most of California falls into one of those categories, including the entire southern third of the state.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.