After a rollercoaster summer of mask mandate lifts and reinstatements, Universal Studios and Six Flags Magic Mountain will not require guests to wear masks outdoors at their parks, despite the Los Angeles County Public Health Department’s (LAPHD) new ordinance requiring guests to wear masks at “outdoor mega events.”
On Aug. 20, the LAPHD will require face masks to be worn outdoors regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status at outdoor mega events of 10,000 people, including sports games and concerts, festivals, car shows, and parades.
A Universal Studios spokesperson told The Epoch Times that while they will not be requiring guests to wear masks outdoors, the park is compliant with current LAPHD guidelines, which require masks in all indoor settings.
“The health and safety of our guests and team members is our top priority as we comply with all L.A. County Health guidelines, which currently requires face coverings worn within all indoor venues regardless of vaccination status,” the spokesperson said in an email statement.
Theme parks mask mandates were lifted for vaccinated people on June 15; Universal Studios and Six Flags began requiring guests to wear masks inside, regardless of vaccination status, on July 28 after a LAPHD health mandate.
The California Department of Public Health officials classified “theme parks” as outdoor mega events with more than 10,000 participants or spectators in an Aug. 18 guidance sheet. However, the new county order doesn’t apply to theme parks or amusement parks.
An LAPHD spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement that the department continues to “strongly recommend” that people wear a mask outdoors regardless of their vaccination status.
“The order was needed given the continued high level of community transmission of COVID-19 and increased new cases and hospitalizations in Los Angeles County,” the spokesperson said. “As the highly infectious Delta variant continues to spread, wearing masks regardless of vaccination status indoors and in crowded settings, including at outdoor mega events, reduces the risk of being infected with and transmitting COVID-19.”
The spokesperson said emerging data affirmed that fully vaccinated people are less likely to become infected than unvaccinated people are, but that they can still become infected and transmit the virus.
“To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant, universal masking is now required at all outdoor mega events where thousands of people from many different communities are crowded together, often for extended periods of time,” LAPHD Director Barbara Ferrer said in a press release. “The most sensible way to add protection is to please keep your mask on when in indoor public places or worksites and at outdoor mega events when not eating or drinking.”
According to a report by Themed Entertainment Association, 3,610,000 guests visited Six Flags before the pandemic in 2019, while Universal Studios Hollywood saw 9,147,000 guests in 2019.
A Six Flags spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment by press deadline.