Major Florida Corporations, Publix, Disney World, and Universal Orlando, have updated their COVID-19 policies to coordinate with the new Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
The new CDC guidelines are due to the surge in Delta variant cases across the nation, with Florida being responsible for one-fifth of those cases.
Prior to the surge, the CDC had previously lifted the indoor mask mandate for people that were vaccinated, saying that the vaccine mitigated the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. The CDC’s new recommendation is that people should wear a mask whether vaccinated or not.
Publix updated its guidelines on Friday citing the CDC’s new recommendation which says, “Effective August 2, Publix is requiring associates, regardless of their vaccination status, to wear face coverings over their noses and mouths while inside any Publix location. We encourage all to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.” The mask mandate for vaccinated employees was previously lifted.
In a letter to customers and associates regarding the changes, Publix CEO Todd Jones said, “Publix has remained in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal and state agencies since January to monitor developments and updated guidance on coronavirus. I’m writing to share with you the actions Publix is taking across our entire operation to safeguard the health and well-being of our customers, our associates, and our communities.”
While they did not directly reference the CDC, Disney World followed suit with the CDC guidelines, and reissued the mask mandate for vaccinated people that was previously lifted by the park in June. Disney World’s updated mask policy states, “Face coverings are required for all guests (ages 2 and up) while indoors and in Disney buses, monorail and Disney Skyliner, regardless of vaccination status. This includes upon entering and throughout all attractions. Face coverings remain optional for all guests in outdoor common areas.” Disney also includes an extensive list of requirements for a proper or “acceptable” mask.
Like Publix, Universal Orlando directly mentions the CDC in its updated policies, which states, “We encourage all our guests to follow CDC guidelines and local directives to wear face coverings while indoors across Universal Orlando Resort. Face coverings are optional while outdoors. We also encourage all guests to keep a safe distance between travel parties, and we remain focused on maintaining the highest cleanliness and sanitization standards.” It then specifies saying, “We encourage all guests – regardless of vaccination status – to wear face coverings while indoors.”
In addition to these corporations changing their policies to match the CDC, they also encourage their guests and employees to get the vaccine. As of Friday, just under 58% of the population in Florida has had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Our World in Data.
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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]