Disney World Pauses Vaccine Mandate After Ban From Florida Officials

Walt Disney World Resort Reopening

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' battle with the Biden administration over COVID-19 vaccine mandates has complicated plans for Disney, according to The New York Times.

The company is halting its plan to require vaccinations for all workers at its Florida theme park, a spokesperson confirmed Saturday (November 20). This comes after DeSantis signed a bill into law Thursday (November 18), which prevents employers from instituting vaccine mandates. State officials claim the measure was put in place to protect workers from getting fired for not getting shots.

“Nobody should lose their job due to heavy-handed Covid mandates, and we had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida,” the governor said in a statement.

If Disney went forward with their vaccine mandate, they would've been fined $50,000 per employee violation. Walt Disney World is an international tourist destination and the largest employer in the Orlando area.

The company says over 90% of active cast members in Florida have verified they were vaccinated before pausing the mandate in a memo to employees, the spokesperson said. Disney has also defended a previous deal with theme park workers, which allowed them to keep their jobs if they were fully vaccinated.

"We believe that our approach to mandatory vaccines has been the right one as we’ve continued to focus on the safety and well-being of our cast members and guests," according to the statement.

President Joe Biden ordered all federal workers to be fully vaccinated by January 4, as well as employees for large companies. Ever since he issued the mandate, it has been met with legal challenges from multiple states, including Florida. It's under a court-ordered pause as of Monday (November 22).

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