A coalition of unions representing 17,000 employees at the Disneyland Resort say they’re “not yet convinced that it is safe to reopen the parks on Disney’s rapid timetable” in a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The letter from the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions (CRLU), posted on Unite Here Local 11 Facebook page, offers praise for Disney paying Disneyland workers for a month after the resort closed in mid-March and for maintaining health benefits while thousands of workers were furloughed. However, when it comes to the reopening plan Disney has announced, the unions aren’t happy with Disney’s current terms.
“Although Disney has provided some information and accommodated some of our concerns, such as the need for the company to take temperatures of all cast members as they enter the worksite, there are numerous questions about safety which Disney has not yet answered, including any serious discussion of ‘testing’ – which has been the cornerstone of plans for other areas of the entertainment industry re- opening,” the letter stated. “Moreover, Disney has rejected or not yet responded to important safety proposals made by CRLU member unions. Therefore, at this point we do not know if the resort can be operated safely.”
Disneyland’s reopening plan does include safety measures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19. These include reduced capacity, requiring face masks for guests above the age of 2, as well as all employees, along with temperature checks and physical distancing throughout the theme parks.
The critical letter stands in stark contrast to the quick agreement that Disney World’s unions struck with Disney in May — a deal that did not include any testing requirements. In both California and Florida, furloughed workers have gone unpaid as state unemployment benefit systems, overwhelmed thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact, struggled to work through an unprecedented backlog of jobless claims.
Disneyland has received government approval to reopen Downtown Disney on July 9 and two of its hotels, the Grand Californian and Paradise Pier, on July 23. It is still awaiting approval on its proposal to reopen Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure on July 17.
Aquatica Orlando resuming operations 7 days a week
SeaWorld’s Aquatica Orlando water park will once again be open seven days a week starting July 2, the only SeaWorld park in Central Florida to resume that operating schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic.
SeaWorld Orlando will remain closed Tuesdays and Thursdays, as it has been since it opened this month after a nearly three-month shutdown. Discovery Cove will be open only four days per week from Friday through Monday.
According to Touring Central Florida, SeaWorld’s Tampa parks will be changing their operating days. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will switch to being closed Mondays and Wednesdays at the end of June. The Adventure Island water park will be opening one additional day per week while remaining closed Tuesdays and Thursdays.
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