The Actors’ Equity Association announced Wednesday that it has reached a deal with Disney World for providing on-site COVID-19 testing, clearing the way for its union members to return to performing around the resort.
The testing site, located at Disney’s Maingate office complex in Kissimmee near Animal Kingdom, will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Friday. Disney employees and their families can register for a test at DisneyCOVID19Test.com, while the general public can sign up at DoINeedACOVID19Test.com.
“We have been consistent that testing is an important part of ensuring a safe workplace for Equity performers, and today, I’m pleased to see that Disney World has agreed,” Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association, said in a press release. “With the news that Disney will make testing available for Equity performers and others in the park, I’m happy to announce that Equity’s executive committee has signed a memorandum of understanding with Disney for Equity performers to return.”
Equity performers were furloughed in April along with tens of thousands of other Disney World employees. According to Deadline, Actors’ Equity said Disney initially recalled its members for rehearsals on June 23. Two days later, the union issued a statement asking for testing — and Disney then rescinded the recall notices on June 26.
Without Equity actors, Disney stage productions such as “Beauty and the Beast — Live on Stage” and “Finding Nemo – The Musical” have been suspended even as Disney World theme parks reopened.
While recall deals with other Disney unions did not involve testing provisions, Actors’ Equity was not the only labor organization to make such a demand. Unions representing Disneyland employees also asked for regular COVID-19 testing ahead of the resort’s aborted reopening in July.
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