Walt Disney World backtracks on vaccine mandate in wake of newly passed Florida laws

Walt Disney World backtracks on vaccine mandate in wake of newly passed Florida laws

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Walt Disney World lifted its mandate requiring all park employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The move comes after Florida passed a raft of laws that make it more difficult (or outright illegal) for businesses and other organizations to request vaccination.

These laws were passed during a special session of the legislature called by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has spent the past year grappling with requirements for vaccines and concealment during the global pandemic. Besides preventing businesses from requiring vaccination, the laws also began the process of removing Florida from OSHA, the federal worker safety agency that has pushed mandates for large employers. This mandate was suspended by the Court of Appeals as states challenged the rule.

Disney indicated that their initial requirements schedule means that many employees have already been vaccinated against the virus that has killed more than 61,000 Florida residents.

“We believe our approach to mandatory vaccinations was the right one. At this point, more than 90 percent of active Florida cast members are fully vaccinated. We will address legal developments as appropriate,” they said in a statement.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has criticized DeSantis, saying his actions are pushing the country “backward” in the fight against COVID-19.

“[Disney World is] Based in Florida, it is clear that the governor there has consistently taken steps to take steps backward in terms of fighting the pandemic, not forward.”

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