News Coronavirus Disney World backs down on banning the unvaccinated
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Disney World backs down on banning the unvaccinated

Florida's Walt Disney World says vaccination levels among its staffers are adequate. Photo: AAP
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In a move that reflects America’s entrenched vaccine hesitancy, Disney World in Florida has put its COVID-19 vaccination mandate on hold.

The move comes amid the Biden administration’s workplace vaccine rule, which requires businesses with at least 100 employees to require staff get vaccinated or be tested weekly and wear a face covering at work.

Asked about the news reports, which cited an unnamed worker at the world’s most-visited theme park, a Disney statement said:

“We believe that our approach to mandatory vaccines has been the right one as we have continued to focus on the safety and well-being of our cast members and guests.

“At this point, more than 90 per cent of active Florida-based Cast Members have already verified that they are fully vaccinated.”

Executives of Walt Disney Co, along with United Parcel Service Inc and others, met with White House officials last month to discuss President Joe Biden’s vaccine requirement plan for private-sector workers, amid concerns it could worsen labour shortages and supply-chain woes.

In addition, vaccine mandates are deeply controversial in the US. Supporters say they are helping to end the nearly two-year coronavirus pandemic, while opponents argue they violate the US Constitution and curb individual liberty.

Biden imposed the requirement in September, telling Americans that “our patience is wearing thin” with those refusing to get inoculated.

Walt Disney Co had made vaccination mandatory on July 30 for all its on-site salaried and non-union hourly employees in the US, as the highly infectious Delta variant drove a resurgence in cases then.

Since then so-called ‘breakthrough infections’ among the inoculated have surged, with heavily vaccinated California – home of the original Disneyland – among the hardest hit states.

-AAP