‘Mask-optional spaces’: Dollywood adjusts some COVID-19 safety protocols

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PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dollywood adjusted its COVID-19 safety protocols for park visitors this week after changes in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dollywood visitors will now see outdoor “mask-optional spaces” within the theme park and will no longer have to undergo temperature checks upon entry into the park. The changes come as more people receive COVID-19 vaccinations and the CDC makes adjustments to its recommendations.

Sevier County’s mask mandate for indoor spaces is slated to expire April 15, unless extended; however, Dollywood will continue to require its employees to wear masks in the park and for guests in some areas of the park.

The park opened for its 2021 season last month with several renovation projects, keeping COVID-19 safety protocols top of mind.

In spring 2020 when the pandemic arrived in Tennessee, the park initially made an emergency plan with operation changes such as adding more hand sanitizing stations and signage for social distancing. The park in April 2020 shifted into “hibernation mode” for some time in order to mitigate the spread of the virus and reopened in June with coronavirus-related safety protocols and adherence to capacity limits from the Tennessee Pledge.

As of April 12, 2021, Dollywood says it has adjusted its COVID-19 safety requirements to the following:

  • Per the CDC’s guidelines on safe outdoor activities, our outdoor areas, where 6 feet of distance can be maintained between parties, are now mask-optional spaces. Guest masking is required at all ticketing areas, park entry, on rides and trams, in queues, all indoor areas and areas where guests cannot socially distance outdoors.
  • Guests and employees are still required to participate in a self-assessment health screening prior to entry, but temperature checks are no longer part of the process.
  • Areas of the property where masks are required will be clearly marked and strictly enforced.
  • Employees will continue to wear masks at all times while on the property. 

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