Disney on Ice returns: How to keep kids safe at large events as COVID numbers rise
Posted December 8, 2021 5:10 a.m. EST
Updated December 8, 2021 6:53 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — Disney on Ice, a family favorite during the holiday season, returns to PNC Arena on Wednesday. Thousands of families will gather indoors for the show, raising concerns about COVID-19 safety.
Proof of vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test is not required for the event. Families will only need to wear masks. The venue's clear bag policy is also in effect.
Doctors are concerned because more kids are getting sick in our state. There's been a spike in COVID cases in children ages 17 and under starting around the week of Nov. 21. Data for December isn't out yet.
A spokesperson from PNC Arena said Disney on Ice will be a full-capacity event, just like other events that have been held there. Disney on Ice, which is a traveling show, employs a full-time task force that monitors coronavirus trends in each city the group visits in case changes need to be made to current policies. The team includes an epidemiologist, and discussions happen constantly, officials said.
Pfizer's vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 was approved in early November, but state data shows many children in that age group are still not vaccinated.
Only 60% of adults are fully vaccinated as positive COVID-19 cases trend upward again.
Even if young children are less at risk for becoming very ill, they can spread the virus to family members, especially those who are unvaccinated. Recent numbers show 133,000 kids were infected with COVID-19 in the U.S. last week, the 17th straight week that that number has topped 100,000.
Raleigh’s mask mandate is in place for Disney on Ice. It does not apply to children under two years of age or children under five years of age if their parent, guardian or responsible person has been unable to place and maintain a face covering safely on the child’s face.
Dr. Lori Langdon, a pediatrician in Harnett County, says keeping a mask on at all times is one of three main things you can do keep yourself safe from COVID.
- Keep face coverings on at all times during the show.
- Consume food and drinks outside, not indoors.
- Avoid attending if you don't feel well.
"Wear your mask all the time!" she said.
After being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, Disney on Ice is expecting a full-capacity show, despite climbing COVID cases and an audience of children who may be ineligible for the vaccine.
Tristan Josef, Disney on Ice tour manager, says the traveling team uses a task force to monitor coronavirus trends in each city the group visits – and discussions about being COVID-conscious happen often.
"We've made adjustments to make it as safe as possible with the distance between performers and the audience, while still giving them a wonderful story," he said. "It's been so special seeing audiences come back out."
A spokesman for Disney on Ice said that performers remove their masks right before they take the ice, so that guests can experience and recognize the classic Disney characters.