Busch Gardens Williamsburg sheds mask mandate; park will not require proof of vaccine

Posted at 8:46 PM, May 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-16 20:46:27-04

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA will no longer require visitors who are fully vaccinated to wear masks. The change comes in accordance with the CDC guidance issued Thursday.

"We will not require proof of vaccine, but ask our guests to respectfully comply with our revised policy," company officials said Sunday.

However, officials said park employees will continue to be required to wear face coverings.

"The safety of our guests, Ambassadors and animals in our care remains our top priority. We will continue to monitor and address this changing environment as necessary," officials said.

CDC Director: 'Get vaccinated right away'

In a major shift, the CDC announced it was easing its indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear face coverings indoors or outdoors, in most settings.

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” Walensky said. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”

Locations, such as health care facilities, will continue to follow their specific infection control recommendations, according to Walensky.

“This past year has shown us that this virus can be unpredictable, so if things get worse, there’s always a chance that we may need to make changes to these recommendations,” she said. “But we know that the more people who are vaccinated, the less cases we will have and the less chances of a new spike or additional variants emerging.”

However, Walensky said if you develop coronavirus symptoms, you should put your mask back on and get tested right away.

As for unvaccinated people, Walensky said they remain at risk of falling ill with COVID-19 or spreading the virus to others.

“You should still mask and you should get vaccinated right away,” Walensky advised those who haven't been vaccinated.

Virginians age 12+ eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Register on the Vaccinate Virginia website or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343). You can search for specific vaccines as well as which are available near you via the Vaccine Finder website.