Ahead of an expected order by county officials easing pandemic health protocols, Universal Studios Hollywood announced it will no longer require guests visiting the theme park to wear masks or show proof of vaccinations or a negative COVID-19 test starting Friday.
The announcement aligns with an order likely to be announced Thursday by Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer that masks are no longer required in public places such as bars, stores, offices, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters. She is also expected to lift vaccine verification requirements at outdoor mega-events in the county — such as at SoFi and Dodger stadiums, L.A. Memorial Coliseum and the Hollywood Bowl.
The theme park, known for its Hollywood backstage tour and Harry Potter-themed land, has required visitors to show proof of being fully vaccinated or a negative COVID-19 test. Inside the park, masks are currently required for guests who are not fully vaccinated. Starting Friday, those guests can go mask-free, just like fully vaccinated visitors.
With COVID-19 cases dropping and health officials relaxing masking mandates, Disneyland announced last month that masks were optional outdoors and vaccinated visitors were no longer required to wear face coverings in many indoor settings at the Anaheim park. Masks are still required for unvaccinated guests ages 2 and older in all indoor areas, including restaurants, stores and attractions. In certain enclosed settings, such as Disney shuttles, face coverings are required for all visitors, regardless of vaccination status.
Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia were all forced to close for more than a year due to the pandemic and reopened last year under health protocols that have been amended and revised in response to COVID-19 case numbers and orders from county health officials.
Despite the mask mandates and health protocols, the parks have moved forward with many of their most popular events, including Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights and Disneyland’s Christmas Fantasy Parade.