After Gov. DeSantis Cracks Down, Disney World Theme Park Pauses Vaccine Mandate

“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. We will address legal developments as appropriate,” Disney said.

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Walt Disney World Resort employees in Orlando, Florida, are no longer required to be vaccinated, after Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed a law that prohibits vaccine mandates for workplaces.

A Disney spokesperson responded to the new legislation, saying, “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. We will address legal developments as appropriate.”

Under the new law, employers must permit employees to use a swath of vaccine exemptions — according to a statement from DeSantis, “Employees can choose from numerous exemptions, including but not limited to, health or religious concerns; pregnancy or anticipated future pregnancy; and past recovery from COVID-19.”

DeSantis’ spokeswoman Christine Pushaw took to social media to discuss the recently implemented law, tweeting on Nov. 20, “Nobody should lose his or her job over COVID vaccine 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 that Disney and any other company that has suspended or terminated workers due to vaccine mandates will reconsider hiring them.”
 

Disney said in a memo that employees who are unvaccinated will now have to wear masks and will be required to social distance from park guests and other workers.

DeSantis has remained a staunch opponent to mask and vaccine mandates, and has appointed leaders who, like him, continue to downplay the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, like the state’s surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo.