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Disney Is Mandating Its U.S. Employees Get Vaccinated

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A view of the Walt Disney World theme park entrance on July 9, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty (Getty Images)

In response to renewed concerns about the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and the spread of the delta variant, Disney is taking a major step to ensure that all of its U.S. employees are guarded against the virus.

Disney’s new mandate comes just after the studio lambasted actress Scarlet Johansson for her lawsuit against the company over Black Widow in which she claims the studio shortchanged her by not giving the movie an exclusive theatrical release. In a statement sent out this afternoon, Disney announced that it is now mandating all of its salaried and non-union employees get vaccinated against covid-19 out of a desire to keep them safe as they continue to work through the pandemic. Both employees who are working on-site and those who are working remotely will be required to receive the vaccine, and going forward, the company will only be hiring those who’ve been vaccinated. “Employees who aren’t already vaccinated and are working on-site will have 60 days from today to complete their protocols and any employees still working from home will need to provide verification of vaccination prior to their return, with certain limited exceptions,” the statement explained.

Disney’s announcement comes at a time when a number of other companies like Google and Facebook have made similar moves amid growing concerns about the virality and severity of the delta variant, which impacts the unvaccinated the most. Disney’s statement also elaborated that the decision came after talks with worker unions about how best to address this specific issue, and insisted that the company is putting its faith in vaccines as they’re “the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees.” Here’s the full statement:

“At The Walt Disney Company, the safety and well-being of our employees during the pandemic has been and continues to be a top priority. Toward that end, and based on the latest recommendations of scientists, health officials and our own medical professionals that the COVID-19 vaccine provides the best protection against severe infection, we are requiring that all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the U.S. working at any of our sites be fully vaccinated. Employees who aren’t already vaccinated and are working on-site will have 60 days from today to complete their protocols and any employees still working from home will need to provide verification of vaccination prior to their return, with certain limited exceptions. We have also begun conversations around this topic with the unions representing our employees under collective bargaining agreements. In addition, all new hires will be required to be fully vaccinated before beginning employment. Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees.”

In the coming weeks, vaccination rates are going to factor directly into just how widely covid-19 continues to spread, and from a business perspective, it’s in Disney’s best interest to encourage its employees not to catch the virus that’s responsible for bringing multiple industries to a halt last year.


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