Legoland to require face masks as Winter Haven enacts emergency ordinance

Theme park previously encouraged, recommended mask use

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – If you’re planning a trip to Legoland or Winter Haven, you’ll now need to pack a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

On Monday, Winter Haven commissioners unanimously voted to enact an emergency ordinance that would require “every person working, living, visiting, or doing business in the City of Winter Haven” to wear a face mask in any indoor space, other than an individual’s home, when social distancing is not possible.

The ordinance goes into effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

[RELATED: These Central Florida cities, counties have face covering requirements]

The city defined a face mask as “a uniform piece of material that securely covers a person’s nose and mouth and remains affixed in place without the use of one’s hands, whether store-bought or homemade, consistent with CDC guidelines.”

Exemptions to required face mask use under the emergency ordinance include:

  • Persons under the age of eight years old
  • Persons observing social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines
  • Persons for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition
  • Persons working in a business or profession who do not have interactions with other persons
  • Persons working in a business or profession who maintain social distancing from other persons
  • Persons working in a business or profession where use of a face covering would prevent them from performing the duties of their business or profession
  • Persons exercising, while maintaining social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines
  • Persons eating or drinking
  • Persons under the age of eighteen years old while participating in youth sports
  • Public safety, fire and other life safety and health care personnel, as their protective equipment requirements will be governed by their respective agencies
  • Persons communicating with someone who is hearing impaired where the wearing of a face covering would impede communication, provided that social distancing is observed to the greatest extent practicable
  • Persons for whom the requirement to wear a face covering would cause a conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act

According to the emergency ordinance, anyone found to not be in compliance with the order could be fined $150.

The ordinance will expire at 5 p.m. on Aug. 14 unless rescinded or extended by further action of the city commission.

Since Legoland falls under Winter Haven city limits, the theme park will now require guests to wear a face mask to be in compliance with the emergency ordinance. Previously, the theme park strongly recommended and encouraged face masks to be worn inside the park, but the use of face coverings will now be mandatory.

“Facial coverings are required in all indoor locations across the resort as well as on all rides in the Theme park for all guests eight (8) years and older. While at our resort, we recommend and encourage guests to bring and wear masks for everyone’s safety but we will have disposable masks available, including kid’s sizes, for pick-up on-site as well. For the water park, masks are only recommended for use when they are dry,” park officials said on the theme park’s website.

In addition to face masks, Legoland outlined the following health and safety measures being taken:

  • Non-invasive temperature checks are required for all guests, including children, and model citizens (employees) before entering the park.
  • Families or parties that include persons with an elevated temperature (at 100.4º F or above) will not be admitted.
  • Height checks for all of our rides and attractions will be conducted at the front gate and kids with some room still to grow will receive a wristband to indicate which rides they are eligible to ride.

On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health reported a total of 7,881 cases of COVID-19 in Polk County since the disease was first detected in the state on March 1, as well as 151 deaths and 596 hospitalizations in the area.

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About the Author:

Erin began her career at News 6 as an assignment editor, then became a show producer. She is now a digital storyteller as part of the Click Orlando team.