For months, The Walt Disney Company and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have been at each other’s throats.
The trouble began when now-fired CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights In Education bill — also called the “Don’t Say Gay” — bill. DeSantis pushed back in full force, signing the bill into law and then passing legislation to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which allowed Disney to function as its own government for years.
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Reedy Creek is set to be dissolved this June, but that doesn’t mean that the fight is over. In fact, Governor DeSantis may just be heating things up. According to reports, DeSantis is looking at passing legislation that would make it illegal for businesses to have mask mandates or vaccinations ever again. Even private businesses are allowed to set their own rules.
The legislation would specifically prohibit COVID-19 vaccine passports in Florida; prohibit vaccine and mask requirements in Florida schools; prohibit masking requirements by businesses; and prohibit employees from being hired or fired based on whether or not they have received a COVID-19 vaccine.
“When the world lost its mind, Florida was a refuge of sanity, serving strongly as freedom’s linchpin,” DeSantis said in a statement. “These measures will ensure Florida remains this way and will provide landmark protections for free speech for medical practitioners.”
When Walt Disney World Resort opened back up after its pandemic closure, all Guests and Cast Members were required to wear masks, as well as social distance. This mask requirement did not sit well with some Guests, who insisted that Disney could not tell them what to do. Disney, in turn, removed Guests who refused to comply, as they are a private company that can set its own rules. U.S. Disney Parks never had vaccine mandates.
DeSantis’ mask and vaccination requirement ban is in its early stages, so we don’t know if and when the legality of the bill will be questioned. Disney has not commented on the possible permanent ban.