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Disney World Workers Issue This Dire Warning About Reopening

Travelicious logo Travelicious 6/24/2020 Chelsea Bengier
a group of stuffed animals sitting on top of a table: Disney World Workers Issue This Dire Warning About Reopening © Provided by Best Life Disney World Workers Issue This Dire Warning About Reopening

As Disney World prepares for its phased reopening on July 11, many fans are excited to finally get back to the House of Mouse for a much-needed magical vacation. However, Disney employees are issuing a warning about the park reopening when the coronavirus pandemic is still spreading, and the number of cases in Florida have continued to rise.

Disney employees, called "Magic Makers," have created a petition to Orange County mayor Jerry Demings and Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer urging them to reconsider reopening the Orlando theme parks and putting thousands of guests and crew members in danger. Over 7,000 people have signed since June 21, when it was posted. Katie Belisle, an attractions hostess at Disney World, wrote in the petition statement:

This virus is not gone, unfortunately it's only become worse in this state. Having our theme parks remain closed until cases are steadily decreasing would keep our guests, our employees and their families safe. Re-opening the theme parks is only putting our guests, employees, and families at higher risk for contracting COVID-19. While theme parks are a great way to relax and enjoy free time, it is a non-essential business; it is not fair to the people who work there to risk their lives, especially if they are at risk or have family members who are at risk. People are more important than making a profit.

The cause for concern is valid. Florida's cases are doubling every three weeks, and last week it saw a massive 87 percent increase, breaking another record for new single-day cases. With nearly 103,500 cases as of June 24, the Sunshine State was called "past the point" of return by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said that theme parks, like Disney World, would reopen in the second phase, as long as virus cases were dropping with no evidence of resurgence. However, that doesn't seem to be true, as officials are still going full steam ahead with the plan despite the recent spike in cases.

Disneyland has seen a similar call to action as an anonymous group launched a petition two weeks ago requesting that the California park delay its return (currently set for July 17). Roughly 49,600 people have signed as of June 24.

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In advance of opening day, Disney released new safety guidelines, including requiring face masks, having temperature screenings at entry points, adding social distancing markers and hand-washing stations, as well as suspending fireworks, parades, and events that draw large crowds.

"The safety and well-being of our cast members and guests are at the forefront of our planning," a Disney spokesperson told CNN Business. "We are in active dialogue with our unions on the extensive health and safety protocols, following guidance from public health experts, which we plan to implement." And for more ways the Happiest Place on Earth will look different the next time you visit, This One Thing Could Change Disney and Other Theme Parks Forever.

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