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Universal Studios Will Require Proof of Vaccination and Masks Starting Next Week

Starting Monday, visitors 12 and above must show vaccination cards or a negative covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of visiting.

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Optimus Prime, California Governor Gavin Newsom, some minions, and a troll attend a press conference about re-opening the state of California in June 2021 outside of Universal Studios Hollywood.
California Governor Gavin Newsom attends a press conference for the official reopening of the state of California at Universal Studios Hollywood on June 15, 2021.
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez (Getty Images)

As the world slowly attempts to drag itself toward a sense of normalcy as the covid-19 pandemic continues, events and businesses looking to bring the public back have already had to try and balance waning federal restrictions with private rules regarding masks, vaccination status, and more. Now one of the biggest theme parks in the U.S. is taking a major step forward with its own regulations.

Announced today, Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles, California will begin mandatory vaccination and testing proof for protection against covid-19 for visitors 12 and above starting October 7, in line with new orders from LA County’s Public Health department. Guests will either have to show proof of an FDA or WHO-approved vaccination that is at least two weeks post final dosage (whether two-dose vaccinations like Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine), or a negative covid-19 test result taken within 72 hours of their visit. Beyond that, all guests above the age of 18 will also be subject to photo ID checks. Universal’s new rules also don’t stop there—regardless of vaccination status once within the park, guests will have to wear masks whether indoors or outdoors, and are encouraged to “keep a safe distance between travel parties” while the parks “remain focused on maintaining the highest cleanliness and sanitization standards.”

These latest rules do not apply to Universal’s resorts in Orlando, Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis has been embroiled in campaigns to ban mask and vaccination mandates in private businesses and schools for months. Although fellow theme park owner Disney has yet to implement similar mandates for proof of vaccination, both Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida re-instated mandatory mask wearing indoors for guests back in July, having dropped restrictions on masks a month prior. While Universal Studio’s new guidelines don’t have an age band for mask usage, Disney’s latest rules apply to all visitors over the age of two.


Theme parks across the U.S. have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, even as some locales opened up sooner rather than later while covid cases in the country continued to fluctuate wildly. The slowly returning public confidence in the wake of improved vaccination rates has now come alongside a certain level of hesitancy in bringing at least some pandemic restrictions back, now that vaccination rates have slowed and cases among unvaccinated Americans continue to rise. Whether or not more rules like Universal Studios will become the norm at other parks remains to be seen, but for now: if you’re heading out to LA, you’re going to want your vaccine card and your mask on you before you go enjoy some rides.

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