Disney World will now require employees to become vaccinated

Stephanie Michelle

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Photo of Disney World Orlando from Wikimedia Commons

As the delta variant of the coronavirus has recently caused a spike in cases, many businesses and local governments in Orange County have reinstituted more cautious policies related to Covid-19. For instance, Orange County mayor Jerry Demings recently issued a state of emergency related to the pandemic. He also urged businesses to start requiring masks and vaccinations once again.

This week, Orlando's Walt Disney World has exhibited compliance with these orders. Yesterday, they released a statement indicating that they will now require their employees to become vaccinated. Here's what the company said:

At the Walt Disney Company, the safety and well-being of our employees during the pandemic has been and continues to be a top priority. Toward that end, and based on the latest recommendations of scientists, health officials and our own medical professionals that the COVID-19 vaccine provides the best protection against severe infection, we are requiring that all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the U.S. working at any of our sites be fully vaccinated.

The new policy even applies to employees who work from home, who will now be mandated to prove their vaccination status before returning to working in person. All Disney employees will be given 60 days to comply with the new protocol.

It was only several days ago that Disney announced that it will also be re-implementing a mask mandate for guests. While inside the Orlando theme parks, guests aged 2 and up will be required to wear a mask while indoors, while on rides, and in other areas of the parks.

These decisions are consistent with those of many large companies in response to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which recommend mask-wearing even among vaccinated individuals due to the resurgence in cases.

For instance, Facebook, Netflix, and Google announced on Wednesday that they will require their employees to wear masks when they return to working in person.

Since the Disney World theme parks are a linchpin of the Disney empire, this decision reflects the company's broader stance toward Covid-19 safety policies. It appears that they are striving to align themselves with CDC guidelines to project a positive brand image.

This may help them preclude the possibility of further park closures, which would severely hamstring their ability to continue amassing profits through the ebbs and flows of the pandemic.

Disney delineates the details of their new face covering policy on their website:

Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) while indoors and in Disney buses, monorail and Disney Skyliner, regardless of vaccination status. This includes upon entering and throughout all attractions. Face coverings remain optional for all Guests in outdoor common areas...At this time, based on guidance from health authorities, neck gaiters, open-chin, triangle bandanas and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind are not acceptable face coverings.
The CDC has recommended that continued mask-wearing is particularly important in areas of the country with "high transmission."
A map that they released indicates that every county in Florida is considered a high transmission area. The transmission categories include low, moderate, substantial, and high, and they are indicated by various colors on the map. All but one county in Florida is marked as red, indicating "high" transmission, with the sole exception of Glades County, which is marked orange to indicate "substantial" transmission.
Florida has recently been described as the "epicenter of the unvaccinated," because it has one of the highest concentations of unvaccinated people. In fact, an astounding fifth of all cases are now cropping up in Florida.
Hopefully, these new mask and vaccination protocols will help to curb the rise in cases.

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Writer, editor, and leftist activist with writing in The Correspondent, Wear Your Voice, Adios Barbie, etc. Endlessly fascinated by the complexities of human minds and cultures. Currently completing my MA in Anthropology.

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