Disney freezed its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees based in Florida due to new legislation that restricts companies from forcing workers to get the jab.
“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, and at this point, more than 90% of active Florida-based Cast Members have already verified that they are fully vaccinated,” a Disney spokesperson commented. “We will address legal developments as appropriate.”
Over the summer, Disney announced that all non-union U.S. employees had until September to get vaxxed, while union members had until Oct. 22 to get the jab to keep their jobs, but were allowed to request medical and religious exemptions.
The company was forced to nix the mandate when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation last week that prevents private businesses from strong-arming employees into getting inoculated. The new law compels employers to give their workers the option to wear protective gear and get scheduled COVID-19 testing to maintain employment.
Disney told staffes about the freeze in a leaked memo, but defended the company’s inoculation program.
“We remain confident in the approach we have taken with our mandatory vaccine policy for Florida-based Cast Members and employees, with more than 90% of our active Florida-based Cast members and employees having verified that they are fully vaccinated, and we consider this to be very successful,” the memo said.
DeSantis’ office said they hope that Disney and other employers that have terminated workers due to the company vax mandates will consider hiring them back.
“As we would expect, Disney has amended its vaccination policy to comply with Florida law. We believe that all companies in Florida will likewise follow the law signed by Governor DeSantis this week,” a spokesperson remarked.
“Nobody should lose his or her job over these mandates. Disney is a major employer in Florida, and we are proud that the ‘happiest place on Earth’ is here in our state. Governor DeSantis’ leadership has saved countless jobs and livelihoods before this holiday season.