Walt Disney World recently reversed course on its COVID vaccine mandate for all company employees after GOP Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that prohibits businesses and other organizations from implementing vaccine mandates without appropriate exemptions.
In remarks to The Washington Post, Disney commented that it has had “the right approach” towards vaccine mandates. Due to DeSantis’s recent passage of anti-mandate legislation, the company will now “address legal developments as appropriate.”
According to the new legislation, private companies are not permitted to mandate COVID vaccines for their employees. Rather than receive the jab, employees can choose from an array of exemptions instead, including previous COIVD infection, varied religious concerns, different health considerations, and current or intended pregnancy.
Moreover, employees can also wear PPE gear, undergo occasional COVID tests, or take part in other preventative measures. However, in these circumstances, employers are tasked with covering the cost of PPE exemptions and COVID testing for employees.
Per a press release from DeSantis’s office, if employers violate any of the legislation’s provisions, then they will be subjected to various fines. Medium- and large-sized businesses will face fines of $50,000 for each employee violation, whereas small-sized businesses with 99 employees and fewer will face fines of $10,000 for each employee violation.
In addition, educational institutions and governmental entities are also not permitted to required vaccines for either studies or employees. Furthermore, school districts cannot quarantine healthy students, nor can they implement mask requirements.
“[No one] should lose their [livelihood] due to heavy-handed COVID mandates,” DeSantis declared.
“We had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida,” DeSantis continued, “I told Floridians that we would protect their jobs and today we made that the law.”
In comments to Fox Business, a Disney spokesperson reported that 90 percent of the active members in the company’s Florida-based cast have already been fully vaccinated against COVID. Prior to the passage of the new legislation, Disney required all unionized employees to receive the COVID vaccine in order to retain their job. The deadline for these employees to demonstrate vaccine proof by had been October 22.
In the past week, Disney Cruise Lines declared that all passengers aged 5 and up aboard its ships must have complete vaccination against the virus, starting in January. In addition, these passengers will also undergo another round of testing prior to boarding the ship in order to ensure that they do not have an active virus infection. Any passengers who test positive for the virus will be unable to board.
Disney Cruise Lines states that these changes constitute the “reimagined” cruise in the post-pandemic era.
“As we set sail again, the health and safety of our Guests, Cast Members, and Crew Members is a top priority,” the company proclaimed, “we’ve reimagined your cruise experience so we all can enjoy the magic responsibly.”