Smithsonian, Disney World Now Requiring Masks Following CDC Guidelines

The Smithsonian and Disney announced this week they will now be requiring visitors to wear masks for indoor areas, following updated masking guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC].

In a press release on Thursday, the Smithsonian said beginning on July 30, the museum "will require all visitors ages 2 and older to wear a mask in its museums and indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status."

According to the press release, visitors that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be required to wear masks in outdoor areas, such as the Smithsonian National Zoo and the Smithsonian's outdoor gardens.

In a statement sent to Newsweek, a spokesperson for the Smithsonian said employees are also required to wear masks when indoors, which has been the museums' policy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Smithsonian said the museum halted its mask requirements on June 28 but following updated mask guidelines from the CDC, they decided to change their policy on Thursday.

Earlier this week, the CDC announced that in areas of the country that are considered to have "substantial or high transmission" of COVID-19, people who are fully vaccinated should start wearing masks again. Those who are not vaccinated against the novel coronavirus have continued to be required to wear masks when in public areas.

In the statement announcing the updated mask guidelines, the Smithsonian said, "While Washington, D.C., is currently classified as moderate risk, the Smithsonian welcomes visitors from all over the globe, and will require masks to protect the health and safety of staff and visitors at its locations in the Washington, D.C. area and in New York City."

In addition to the Smithsonian, Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California announced they will now be requiring visitors and staff members to wear masks when indoors.

"Beginning July 30, 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 said in an update on its website.

In a statement sent to Newsweek, a spokeswoman for Disney said the decision to update its mask policies is "based on guidance from health and government officials."

The update posted on the Disney website noted masks are not required outdoors for fully-vaccinated visitors.

"While we do not require proof of vaccination, we expect Guests who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations and upon entering and throughout all attractions and transportation except ferry boats," the update said.

Following the CDC's updated mask guidelines, several cities and counties across the U.S. have also reinstated mask mandates.

In addition to the updated mask guidance from the CDC, health officials across the nation have continued to warn of the dangers surrounding the COVID-19 Delta variant, which makes up over 80 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

Masks required at Smithsonian, Disney Parks
The Smithsonian and Disney recently announced visitors will be required to wear masks when indoors, following updated guidance from the CDC. Above, signs reminding people of social distance and wearing face masks remain at a mall in Monterey Park, California, on June 14. Frederic J. Brown/Getty

Updated 07/29/2021, 1:00 p.m. ET: This story was updated with a statement from Disney.