Disney World puts COVID-19 vaccination mandate policy on hold

A spokesperson for Disney World near Orlando, Florida, said on Saturday that the company’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate has been put on hold. The change in policy comes amid President Joe Biden’s workplace COVID-19 vaccine rule.

The Disney spokesperson told Reuters by email: “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.” The spokesperson added, “At this point, more than 90% of active Florida-based Cast Members have already verified that they are fully vaccinated.”

Walt Disney Co, which operates Disney World, made the vaccine a requirement for all on-site salaried and non-union hourly employees in the United States. The rule was imposed as the delta variant drove an increase in cases at the time.

Executives of Walt Disney Co, along with the United Parcel Service Inc and other groups, met with White House officials last month to discuss the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement plan for private-sector workers.

The rule applies to businesses with 100 employees or more and mandates that all staff get vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly and wear a face covering while at work. Many raised concerns that the requirement would worsen labor shortages and supply-chain worries.

Vaccine mandates have been controversial in the United States. Supporters claim the mandates have been helping to bring the nearly two-year coronavirus pandemic to an end. Opponents, though, say they violate the U.S. Constitution and infringe upon individual liberty. Biden’s vaccine requirement was instituted in September as he told Americans that “our patience is wearing thin” with those who refuse to get the shot. 

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