With the risk of the Delta variant looming globally and the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, the Disney parks can’t risk employees getting sick and making the hoards of summer tourists ill as , so now The Walt Disney Company is requiring for U.S. employees to be vaccinated in order to return to work.
A press statement given by the company reads:
“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.
Employees who aren’t already vaccinated and are working on-site will have 60 days from today to complete their protocols and any employees still working from home will need to provide verification of vaccination prior to their return, with certain limited exceptions. We have also begun conversations around this topic with the unions representing our employees under collective bargaining agreements. In addition, all new hires will be required to be fully vaccinated before beginning employment. Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees.”
Disney has yet to say if this will also eventually apply to the parks’ visitors. According to the Themed Entertainment Association, Disney World’s average number of daily attendees this year is 57,000 at Magic Kingdom; 38,000 at Animal Kingdom; 34,000 at Epcot; and 31,000 at Hollywood Studios. That’s a far lower number of people than pre-COVID times, but still a sizable crowd for parks that aren’t running at full capacity. With major studios like Netflix requiring for employees to be vaccinated to work on productions, we also hope that Walt Disney Pictures will have the same mandates as those for the parks.