Disney World halts vaccine mandate after new law protects workers; DeSantis calls for terminated staff to be rehired

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Disney World decided to take a step back from its employee vaccine mandate just a few months after implementation in response to multiple recent events that may have an impact on the legality of the mandate.

The pause on enforcement of the jab policy will continue while the company “assesses the new state laws protecting workers from vaccine mandates,” according to FOX 35 Orlando, which reviewed an internal memo sent to Disney cast members.

The memo explained that their decision was impacted by the legislation signed into law in Brandon, Florida by Gov. Ron DeSantis last week, along with a stay on implementation of the “vaccine or test policy” for companies with 100 or more employees.

“Due to the passage this week of a new Florida law on employer vaccine mandates, and the federal OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard mandating the vaccine being stayed, we must pause the enforcement of our policy for Florida-based Cast Members and employees,” the memo read.

(Video Credit: FOX 35 Orlando)

Disney indicated that 90 percent of its Florida cast members had already rolled up their sleeve for the shot and defended their policy to require a substance be injected into the arms of their employees as “the right one.”

“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 said in a statement to FOX 35. “We will address legal developments as appropriate.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responded to the vaccine mandate pause to reaffirm that jobs should not be contingent on jabs.

“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,” read a statement issued by the red state governor’s office. “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.”

“We hope Disney and any other company that has suspended or terminated workers due to vaccine mandates will consider re-hiring them,” the statement from DeSantis’ office read.

Many people were pleased with the announcement and several gave kudos to DeSantis, calling him a “hero.”

Nick Caturano, a veteran cast member of 16 years heard rumblings of the change a couple of hours before the announcement to the regular cast members like himself.

“For me personally, I was trying to reach out to Disney and reason with them when I wrote my open letter on the website. But, the legislation really put it over the edge, and it looks like Disney must have had an emergency meeting, I’m guessing. And, I heard probably around noon that managers were leaking that they were getting these emails that they were going to stop the mandates. And, as regular cast members, we got it [at around] 2 p.m,” Caturano told FOX Business on Saturday.

Caturano has attempted to reason with Disney leadership over their vaccine mandate in an open letter on his website GoofyVaccine.com. His site also offers tips on how others can help fight medical treatment mandates as well as vax-free job resources.

Caturano explained that he was led to take a stand in part because he had a COVID-19 infection.

“That and a lot of cast members were looking to me because they were really scared. They didn’t want to lose their job, but they were scared to take the shot because everybody … a lot of us felt that it just wasn’t vetted long enough,” he explained, “We weren’t against the vaccine. We just didn’t think that there was enough … We just thought it was too soon to totally trust it, and we just wanted to wait … And then, that just led me to take a stand and I just wanted to reason with Disney, then it turned into something else.”

The vaccine mandate was initially announced in August, shortly after full Food and Drug Administration approval of the Pfizer vaccine. The agreement between Walt Disney World and The Service Trades Council union date a vaccination deadline date of October 22, 2021.


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