Walt Disney World confirmed the following today-
“We believe that our approach to mandatory vaccines has been the right one as we’ve continued to focus on the safety and well-being of our Cast Members and Guests, and at this point, more than 90% of active Florida-based Cast Members have already verified that they are fully vaccinated,” a Disney spokesperson said. “We will address legal developments as appropriate.”
An internal memo from Disney said that the pause will remain in effect as the company “assesses the new state laws protecting workers from vaccine mandates,” according to FOX 35 Orlando. The station said it had obtained a copy of the internal memo sent to Disney cast members.
Nick Caturano, a cast member at Disney World for more than 16 years, told FOX Business on Saturday that he had heard managers were leaking e-mails detailing the move two hours before the cast members received them.
“For me personally, I was trying to reach out to Disney and reason with them when I wrote my open letter on the website. But, the legislation really put it over the edge and it looks like Disney must have had an emergency meeting, I’m guessing. And, I heard probably around noon that managers were leaking that they were getting these e-mails that they were going to stop the mandates. And, as regular cast members we got it [at around] 2 p.m,” he explained.
“That and a lot of cast members were looking to me because they were really scared. They didn’t want to lose their job but they were scared to take the shot because everybody – a lot of us felt that it just wasn’t vetted long enough,” he said, “We weren’t against the vaccine. We just didn’t think that there was enough … We just thought it was too soon to totally trust it and we just wanted to wait … And then, that just led me to take a stand and I just wanted to reason with Disney, then it turned into something else.”
All of this comes after the Sunshine State’s Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Special Session legislation that puts new restrictions on COVID-19 vaccine mandates by employers.
“I told Floridians that we would protect their jobs and today we made that the law,” said DeSantis. “Nobody should lose their job due to heavy-handed COVID mandates and we had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida. I’m thankful to the Florida Legislature for joining me in standing up for freedom.”
Effective immediately, private employer COVID-19 vaccine mandates are prohibited, employers who violate employee health protections will be fined up to $50,000 per violation, government entities may not require COVID-19 vaccinations of anyone, educational institutions may not require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19, school districts may not have school face mask policies or quarantine healthy students. Parents and students may sue violating school districts and recover costs and attorney’s fees.
“As we would expect, Disney has amended its vaccination policy to comply with Florida law. We believe that all companies in Florida will likewise follow the law signed by Governor DeSantis this week,” the governor’s office said in a statement issued to FOX 35. “Nobody should lose his or her job over these mandates. Disney is a major employer in Florida, and we are proud that the ‘happiest place on Earth’ is here in our state. Governor DeSantis’ leadership has saved countless jobs and livelihoods before this holiday season.”
“We hope Disney and any other company that has suspended or terminated workers due to vaccine mandates will consider re-hiring them,” the office said.
Stay tuned for more updates as we get them.
*Fox 35 Orlando & Fox Business News
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