22 Nov. 2021 – The Walt Disney Company suspends its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees at its Florida theme parks after state lawmakers banned employers from requiring workers to be vaccinated.
Walt Disney World could have faced fines under the policy, a company spokesman said The New York Times. The Biden administration has ordered vaccinations for workers in large companies, but Florida and other states have challenged the mandate in court.
The Florida legislature passed a bill blocking COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed it into law Thursday. The new rule was promoted as an attempt to protect workers who could lose their jobs.
“No one should lose their jobs because of heavy-handed COVID mandates, and we have had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida,” DeSantis said. in a statement.
Florida law prevents employers from strict enforcement vaccine mandate and allow employees to claim exemptions due to health or religious concerns, a previous coronavirus infection, or pregnancy or expected pregnancy. The law also states that workers who have not been vaccinated can be tested regularly or wear protective equipment.
The penalty for violating the ban can be $ 10,000 per day for each employee violation for businesses with less than 99 employees. For larger businesses, fines can range up to $ 50,000 per employee violation.
In August, Disney World reached an agreement with employees to require amusement park workers to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus to retain their jobs. The company defended this rule again on Saturday, the Times reported.
“We believe our approach to mandatory vaccines was the right one as we continued to focus on the safety and well-being of our role players and guests,” the company said.
More than 90% of active role players in Florida have verified that they have been fully vaccinated, the newspaper reported. The Walt Disney Company said the break will remain in effect as the company reviews the new state law to an internal memo acquired by FOX 35 News in Orlando.
Florida cast members and employees who have not verified their vaccination status will be required to follow safety protocols for unvaccinated people, including face masks and physical distance, the internal memo reads.
The company also encourages guests to follow safety protocols by wearing face masks, checking for symptoms and getting vaccinated.
“We encourage people to be vaccinated,” the company said.