It’s Time for Disney World to Ban Exhalation Valve Masks

UPDATE: Disney has officially banned face masks with exhalation valves. Our original story continues below.


In our recent article titled What Disney World is Getting Right and What They Can Improve Upon During Phased Reopening, we praise Disney for their ability to quickly adjust their policies to ensure a safe environment. The area where we’ve seen the most adjustments is their mask policy.

The first was the explicit banning of neck gaiters. When we first wrote about the mask policy, it was obvious to a layman’s reading of the policy that neck gaiters were not allowed. That said, some guests still wore them, leading to Disney to explicitly list them as a banned form of face covering.

More recently, Disney has explicitly stated that walking around with your mask off while you eat or drink is not allowed. This is in response to some guests taking advantage of the policy that said you didn’t have to wear a mask when you were eating or drinking. Of course, common courtesy would require you to be physically distanced from people when you take your mask off, but many guests were strolling through World Showcase with their masks off as they nursed a beer or other Festival food item. Disney has since clarified their policy and added signage around the parks to remind guests that they cannot walk and eat or drink.

Now, we hope that Disney is able to quickly pivot again and join Universal Orlando Resort in banning masks with exhalation valves. According to the CDC, a mask with an exhalation valve “allows unfiltered exhaled air to escape”, effectively rendering the mask useless as it relates to COVID-19 protections. Of course, the appeal of a mask with an exhalation valve is that you will not have some of the moisture or warm air near your face when you breathe out as the one-way valve allows for the exhaled air to escape the mask and keep your face cool. Unfortunately, that completely defeats the purpose of the mask as it relates to protecting others in the theme park environment around you. As a matter of fact, a neck gaiter could be considered a safer face covering than a mask with an exhalation valve, and neck gaiters are banned by Disney.

While walking around the theme parks for the past week, we’ve seen more than a handful of guests utilizing masks with exhalation valves, a sign that Disney has not made the banning of such masks into a policy. As Disney continues to strive to make Walt Disney World a safe place, it’s time for them to once again amend their face covering policy and include face masks with an exhalation valve as a banned face covering method.


As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news and photos from around the Disney Parks!

Mike
Mike is the owner and writer for BlogMickey.com. Visiting the parks daily allows him to keep up with the latest Disney news, reviews, and photos from around the Disney Parks. You can reach him at [email protected]

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37 COMMENTS

  1. What a shame that so called adults need to be told step by step how to behave, and not try to “get away with stuff “.

  2. Jesus…. stay in your lane Mike.
    You are no medical expert
    You read a sentence and suddenly now are writing about this?
    The media and bloggers needs to stay out of health care.
    Again. Stay in your lane. You write a disney blog. End of story

  3. next week
    “I read that masks really aren’t the best but hazmat suits are. Disney needs to update their policy to have hazmat suits be mandatory”

  4. Not completely true, as there are exhalation masks that are filtered. My mask is equipped with a pm2.5 hepa filter over the valve. I replace the filter weekly.

  5. It’s not true that all mask with a valve vent unfiltered air. Some do, especially the double vent face masks.

  6. Thank Disney and Universal for thinking of safety as both try to stay open for our enjoyment. Wearing a mask is the very least visitors can do.

  7. Inside the masks with valves there is a charcoal filter. The air being breathed in and breathed out goes through the filter. These are actually better than a simple piece of cotton.

  8. I have four masks with the value in them. The ones I have also have a layer of fabric between me and the value/outer fabric. So depending on the make and style of the mask it should be OK. Before that my glasses, that I need to wear, would fog up to a point I couldn’t see. Now they barely do.

  9. wouldn’t the other persons mask take care of inhalation and lf they have a mask with a valve vice versa ,and if you are social distancing ……

  10. First, the gaitor thing is the stupidest mask rule. What’s even more stupid is that Disney didn’t allow a kid in wheelchair literally surrounded by plexi glass enter the park….because underneath all that plexiglass, he had on a gaitor because his cognitive impairment didn’t tolerate any other face covering.
    Second, stop worrying about what others are doing and concentrate on your own actions for your own safety. CDC defines close contact: “for COVID-19, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.” Someone walking by you sipping on their margarita or blowing out their valve mask or wearing a buff isn’t going to infect you. If you chase them around for 16 minutes at a 4 foot distance chastising them about walking and drinking, you may have a problem, in more ways than one.

  11. Mike you may want to re-think that “No vent ” thing…i have mask with vents and replacable carbon filters.

  12. Yes!! It bothers me so much when I see people wearing these in stores and they places with mask policies, it completely defeats the purpose of the mask

  13. And what about all the people wearing a loose mask instead of tightly around their face… people who don’t have a nose clamp the same thing happens. Whats your rule for them? What do you need to see the marks on their face to determine if the mask is tight enough?

    Since the rule is to “fully cover the nose and mouth, must be secure underneath the chin and fit snugly” I guess that means the mask doesn’t have to be close to the nose or cheeks

    You’re a blogger not a medical expert. So let the experts continue to change their minds every week on “standards” of masks and social distancing practices and you go back to writing about Disney not medical advice.

  14. Dude get a life…. Really???? You are going to write an article about this…. Maybe if Disney wasn’t enforcing masks or people wearing lace masks… But really don’t you think this is really really trivial? Atleast they have some kind of mask on and sent complaining about it. You know I also heard that people choke on chicken bones, maybe Disney need to enforce a no bone policy. So no turkey legs or chicken in the park either.

  15. Seriously if people are so concerned with others being up to par to their standards just stay home. Life = risks & life= germs
    Masks are just a reason to harrass other people and insert yourself where you are not wanted. If they want a uniform standard mask used everywhere the government should have mailed one to every resident.

  16. I use an N95 mask with an exhaust value because that is the only n95 mask I can buy. It seems health care is buying all the regular N95 masks. I needed an N95 because I am immune compromised and people around me out in public either refuse to wear a mask or do not wear it properly

    Secondly there are many grades of masks out there. Some are useless and others are only semi effective. Will the next step be to mandate style or material.

    I will be happy to wear a flimsy mask over my N95 or tape the value if that would make people happy. I will not stop wearing it for the same reason first responders understand the need for a N95 mask for better protection

  17. I have gaiter masks with a pocket that holds a filter. I would like to find out if this is an acceptable mask as long as the filter is being utilized

  18. If Disney wants a certain type of mask, they they should be handing them out at the gate. Or just shut down the whole place until this gets handled!

  19. Ummm, It appears to me he was just reporting how masks with exhalation holes in them are no longer allowed at Disney so if you are planning to go you may want to use a different face covering option. It’s not an opinion piece, it is to INFORM of changes of DISNEY ( a theme park complex in Orlando) guidelines. Perfectly applicable to appear on a Disney Parks blog.

  20. with all the new rules and format and closed rides and attractions why would anyone choose to visit disney right now …..and on top of all this no reduction in ticket prices

  21. It is an opinion piece, not actual Disney policy. Yet. But I think it will be. If Universal has done it, I don’t see how Disney can’t follow.

  22. The CDC should look into the different type of vented masks I believe there is some difference between the styles. It can be confusing but some of the valve masks actually have a pocket that has a replaceable filter so the valve isn’t directly touching your face and the valve is not removable. There are others will have removable valves that lock the filter in place and that valve does touch you face these one should not be permitted. It isn’t hard to tell the difference between them since the first on look like a regular cloth mask with usally a single valve and the other looks to be mesh with 2 valves and usually has a neck strap on them. Now as for the dust masks with valves I haven’t had one to know how it’s assembled to make a comment on and never seen them in the parks, I do own the 2 I described. It would be easy to identify from just a casually inspection like when they take your temperature. Also the thing is even with non vented mask some of your breath escapes out of the edges so it’s not completely effective either. And to Juan I was just at animal kingdom yesterday 7/22 and I was aloud in with my single valve mask and saw many others with the same or the 2 valve masks so Mike can’t be commenting on it as policy since he posted this on 7/22.

  23. He specifically says it’s time fore Disney to amend their mask policy. That’s would be an opinion Juan.

  24. Thanks for your articles re: Disney’s Covid-19 response and policies! Please dont follow other’s advice to “stay in your lane”! You’re providing important information during a crisis. Maybe not what you initially expect from a Disney blog – but its important.
    Unfortunately the White House is using Disney’s opening as a guide to reopening schools. White House spokesman Judd Deere said “If Disney World can be open, so can our schools.”

  25. We had been wearing n99 exhaust-valve type masks because when this whole thing started they were considered the best and most protective equipment. Things changed over time from trying to filter the air you breath to trying to restrict the air you exhale so the mask guidelines are changing. The truth is that no mask available to the public can filter the smallest unit of covid-19. The best we can do is reduce the water droplets. I’ve ordered new masks without filters to use for the foreseeable future.

  26. Lack of consistency means that this is all apples and oranges, what one place accepts is not going to match another. This isn’t going to change given the lack of surplus, and need by the general public, of medical grade masks. Also getting everyone to comply with the correct wearing of any mask seems to be a challenge. Some states are only now requesting residents to wear masks, so visitors to parks don’t know what to do. People also want to express themselves, regardless of cost or effectiveness, to wear masks with designs on them. I don’t have an answer to the problem, since there is such an issue over wearing masks in the first place which I personally don’t understand, but if you want to visit pretty much any park, a mask is needed. If we can follow the rules I hope we can control the situation and try to have some fun, within reason. Stay safe, but if you don’t feel good about it then don’t venture out. I’m not going many places myself.

  27. Again, this isn’t Disney’s policy but Mike’s opinion. I really enjoy Blogmickey as an information website and if Mike gives his opinion on masks and types of masks he thinks Disney should ONLY allow in the parks then people should and can give their opinions. All masks are not perfect and some VALVE masks have four or five filters between the wearer and outside the mask. Cloth and paper masks leak air as well.

  28. Masks are not supposed to filter exhaled air, they’re supposed to block escaping droplets (at least that’s what we’ve been told repeatedly). Almost no mask currently being worn in public (especially the homemade cloth masks and paper masks we see everywhere) can filter sufficiently, especially since they do not create an airtight seal and allow unfiltered air to escape around the nose and cheeks.

  29. So, an N95 mask is suitable for performing surgery but not safe enough for riding Space Mountain? I’m confused…….

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