Select Walt Disney World Resorts reopened today, June 22. The next step is the phased reopening July 11 (Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom) and July 15 (EPCOT & Hollywood Studios). As Disney gears up for the big reopening, it seems Cast Members are petitioning otherwise as COVID-19 is re-surging in Florida.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, some Disney World workers are pleading with theme park executives to reconsider plans to reopen in July, following days of record-number cases of COVID-19 infections that have pushed the statewide total past 100,000. Reopening would mean bringing back tens of thousands of workers who were furloughed April 19 and since then have struggled to navigate Florida’s broken unemployment system. Still, workers who signed the petition said it’s too soon to welcome back guests.
“This virus is not gone, unfortunately, it’s only become worse in this state,” reads the petition, which was approaching 4,000 signatures Monday, a small showing of the resort’s 78,000 staffers. “While theme parks are a great way to relax and enjoy free time, it is a non-essential business; it is not fair to the people who work there to risk their lives, especially if they are at risk or have family members who are at risk. People are more important than making a profit. Mayors, theme park executives, government officials — please hear what we are saying.”
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But with Disney set to start its phased-in reopening in just a few weeks, nearly four months after it voluntarily shut down on March 16, it’s unclear if executives will be swayed by the plea.
Disney also is facing pushback from Disneyland workers who over the past two weeks have collected nearly 45,000 signatures calling to delay the Anaheim, California, park’s reopening amid rising ICU hospitalizations.
Disney would not comment on whether there had been any discussions over postponing the Orlando return, but the parks have previously laid out the safety precautions, as well as the decision to give paid sick leave to workers who develop symptoms and need to quarantine.
In the online petition posted on the progressive website moveon.org.