Disney World will no longer be digitally adding face masks onto guests’ faces in ride photos, the company said.
Florida’s Disney World reopened with new COVID-19 restrictions in July, one of which included wearing a face covering at all times except while eating or swimming. Park visitors who chose to not wear a mask while riding on attractions did not receive PhotoPass photos taken on the rides.
However, Walt Disney World News picked up on a private Dec. 6 Facebook group post noting that the theme park had begun digitally adding masks to riders’ faces after the fact.
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In a photo posted on Facebook from Animal Kingdom’s Dinosaur ride, there is a group of four people up front and two in the back row. The woman in the back row has a black face mask over her face that appears to have been digitally added on.
If you refuse to wear a mask on a Disney ride, cast members will photoshop one onto your face for the picture wall https://t.co/4gocKiaLx0
“Got all of our photo pass photos from yesterday except Dinosaur. Just finally got it and you can see Disney has already started digitally adding masks so everyone can still get their photos,” the user captioned the post. “The woman behind us apparently wasn’t wearing hers.”
Since theme park-goers could be on a ride with people outside their group, if someone slipped their mask off covertly on the ride and were captured in the group photo, no one could get that photo. The digitally-added masks allowed for those in the photo properly wearing their face masks to get the photos.
In the comments under the digitally imposed mask photo on Facebook, one person said she was glad Disney was adding masks because “it’s not fair to other people that want the picture and can’t get it because of someone else.”
But another member of the group defended the woman who was digitally masked in the photo, saying she might not necessarily be an anti-masker.
“It looks like her mask fell off one ear and is hanging on her other ear,” the commenter said, noting that Dinosaur is such a “bumpy” attraction that it might have caused her face covering to fall off.
In any event, Disney World says it will not be digitizing face masks over guests’ faces any longer.
“In response to guest requests, we tested modifying some ride photos. We are no longer doing this and continue to expect guests to wear face coverings except when actively eating or drinking while stationary,” Disney said in a statement provided by spokesperson Jacquee Wahler.
It’s unclear whether photos with maskless riders will still be unavailable for purchase.
Less than two weeks after its Florida parks reopened, Disney World updated its policy to close some mask loopholes.
In addition to face masks, Disney World requires visitors to undergo a temperature check on arrival and observe social distancing guidance. Attractions that involve person-to-person contact or interactive activities remain closed. More frequent cleanings take place throughout the park, and visitors and employees are encouraged to wash their hands.
Coronavirus cases have surged in Florida since Disney World announced its reopening plans in late May. The state had more than 1 million cases as of Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard, up from 360,000 in July.
Nine months into the coronavirus pandemic, Disneyland in Anaheim, California, remains closed. In October, the state announced that large parks with 15,000+ capacity cannot reopen until the infection rate in their counties drops to minimum levels. A few small theme parks were allowed to reopen at the time.
But due to a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in December, California has initiated regional stay-at-home orders, causing many businesses that had been open to close again. This includes Disney’s retail and dining areas such as Downtown Disney and Buena Vista Street.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Walt Disney World will no longer digitally add face masks on ride photos
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