Last week, Orange County, Florida Mayor Jerry Demings declared a State of Emergency for the county and said that the area was in “crisis mode” as it saw an extreme uptick in its COVID-19 positivity rate. State of Emergencies declared in Florida are only allowed to last seven days, due to a new bill signed into law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, so every seven days, the State of Emergency can either be lifted or extended.
Today, August 8, Mayor Demings extended that State of Emergency as cases continue to rise in Orange County and throughout the state.
Back in May, Orange County’s positivity rate was at 4.7% so mask requirements and other COVID-19 protocols were lifted — as of August 5, the positivity rate is now over 20%.
When Orange County reinstated its mask mandates, Disney World and Universal Orlando also reinstated their indoor mask requirements for all Guests, regardless of vaccination status. It was shortly after that that Disney also announced that it would be requiring all salaried and non-union hourly employees would be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Shortly after that announcement, Disney also revealed that it was in negotiations with Unions representing thousands of Disney World and Disneyland Cast Members to also require unionized Disney employees to receive the vaccine. With the announcement of the extended State of Emergency, one Disney union shared that negotiations with Disney are still ongoing.
Greg Angel, an Orlando-based reporter shared news of the negotiations, as well as Union statements, on his Facebook page, stating that the negotiations were most likely to continue into next week:
“UNITE HERE Local 737, along with the other 5 unions of the Services Trade Council, does not have an agreement in place with Disney regarding Disney’s vaccine mandate,” President Jeremy Haicken told Spectrum News in a statement. “We continue to negotiate with Disney. We are especially concerned that unionized workers with medical or religious concerns will be accommodated fairly.”
“UNITE Here 737 has taken many steps to encourage our members to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” Unite Here 737 said in a statement. “The vaccines are safe and effective in preventing serious illness and death. We hope that all hospitality workers in Central Florida will get the vaccine as soon as possible. Any workers who feel unsure about the vaccine should make that decision with their own doctor.”
Disney’s salaried and non-union hourly Cast Members will have until September 28 to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Exceptions will be made for those Cast Members who cannot medically receive the vaccine, as well as those whose religion does not allow them to receive vaccinations.
There is no word on if Demings will extend the State of Emergency after another seven days — while Florida is seeing a positive sign in more vaccinations, they are still struggling with record numbers of positive cases.
What do you think of Orange County once again extending its State of Emergency? Do you think Disney should require all Cast Members to be vaccinated? Let us know in the comments.
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