COVID-19 Omicron Variant Pushes Orange County, FL Back Into High Transmission Category

face covering at Disney
Credit: Disney

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Orange County as well as much of the state of Florida has been a hotspot for COVID-19 transmission. Just about two months ago in October 2021 however, Orange County Mayor Demings announced that the state of emergency for the area would be expired given the data and scientific evidence showing a consecutive decrease in positive COVID-19 cases down to at the time, just 5% positivity.

Cast Members Masks

Credit: Disney

While the county’s state of emergency was lifted on October 27, 2021, the Walt Disney World Resort along with other local theme parks and attractions, continued to keep COVID-19 health and safety restrictions in place, most of which have still not been lifted. For Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, these precautions include mask requirements for indoor areas, increased hand sanitizing stations around the theme parks and resorts, and distanced “character sightings” as opposed to the pre-pandemic, close up character meet and greets.

According to recent data compiled by the CDC, Orange County, FL has creeped back into the high category for the transmission rate of COVID-19, largely due to the surging Omicron variant which at this time makes up for about 75% of breakthrough cases of the virus.

Credit: Disney

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has largely advocated for ending COVID-19 restrictions throughout the state and for pushing against reforms that would require vaccination and/or testing policies by businesses for both consumers and employers. In Orange County specifically, no announcements have been made thus far regarding the change in categorization by the CDC, and on the theme park level many of the earlier safety procedures remain in place.

While the Walt Disney World Resort has been in the process of reopening restaurants and live entertainment attractions that closed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, no changes to health and safety procedures have been announced in some time.

Credit: Disney

If you are traveling to the Walt Disney World Resort, or anywhere within the US at this time, masks are still required in airports and while on planes, as well as on other forms of transportation including travel by train and indoor areas on cruise ships. Some destinations, including Disney Cruise Line, also require vaccinations and presentation of a recent negative COVID-19 test result.

As you travel during this time, be sure to confirm health and safety guidelines ahead of your trip, be sure to pack extra masks and your vaccination card in case they are needed while you are away from home.

We will keep you updated here on Disney Fanatic if anything changes in Orange County or at the Walt Disney World Resort.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."

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