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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Walt Disney World rolls back vaccine mandate following newly passed Florida laws

Posted By on Tue, Nov 23, 2021 at 11:52 AM


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

Those laws were passed during a special session of the legislature called by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has spent the last year railing against vaccine and masking requirements while the global pandemic raged. Along with barring businesses from requiring vaccination, the laws also began the process of removing Florida from OSHA, a federal worker safety agency that pushed mandates for large employers. That mandate was put on pause by an appeals court as states challenge the rule.

Disney noted that the timeline of their initial requirements means many employees have already been vaccinated against the virus that has killed more than 61,000 Floridians.

“We believe that our approach to mandatory vaccines has been the right one. And at this point, more than 90 percent of active Florida-based Cast Members are fully vaccinated. We will address legal developments as appropriate," they shared in a statement.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki lambasted DeSantis, saying his actions were pushing the country "backward" in the fight against COVID-19.

"[Disney World is] based in Florida, and obviously the governor there has consistently taken steps to take steps backwards as it relates to fighting the pandemic, not forward," Psaki told reporters.

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