Disney World Employees Petition To Delay Reopening As FL Cases Surge

by Cassandra Stone
Originally Published: 
Mickey Mouse rides in a parade through Main Street, USA with Cinderella's castle in the background a...
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As COVID cases surge in Florida, Disney World employees don’t think it’s safe for the park to reopen

Though many Disney-goers are likely excited at the prospect of the park reopening in Orlando next month, park employees feel quite differently. More than 7,000 employees have signed a petition urging Disney and Florida officials to delay the opening of Disney World.

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“This virus is not gone, unfortunately it’s only become worse in this state,” the petition, which was posted on on Sunday, reads. “Having our theme parks remain closed until cases are steadily decreasing would keep our guests, our employees and their families safe. Re-opening the theme parks is only putting our guests, employees, and families at higher risk for contracting COVID-19.”

Disney World, which employs about 70,000 people and has been closed since mid-March, still plans to begin a phased reopening on July 11 for its Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks and July 15 for EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, the company said last month.

The petition is more timely than ever, as coronavirus cases are rising rapidly in the state of Florida. The Florida Department of Health reported 5,508 new cases during the past 24 hours alone. The 5.3% increase from one day to the next brings the total in the state to 109,014.

Disney Land in California has already delayed their reopening. The park was initially scheduled to reopen on July 17, but that is no longer the case. “California has now indicated that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4,” the company told the LA Times. That would not give the company enough time to recall staffers and prepare the parks to reopen by mid-July, they said. Prior to issuing the delay, a dozen unions that represent about 17,000 Disneyland employees sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom saying that because of the coronavirus, opening the park would be unsafe.

“Retreating back to an earlier Phase in re-opening is our best option at not exposing the virus to thousands and thousands of theme park employees and their families,” the petition continues. “As individuals who work in the bustling tourism industry in central Florida, we are responsible for ensuring the safety of our guests and our fellow magic makers. Keeping ourselves and our visitors safe is our number one priority, in every theme park. This includes our health and wellbeing. We are encouraged to say something when we see something that we deem is unsafe so we’re speaking up.”

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