Universal Orlando Resort is changing its COVID-19 vaccination policy for workers to match federal guidelines, even though the regulations could soon be struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Theme Park Tribune has confirmed that the update was announced in a Monday email to employees attributed to Universal Parks & Resorts executive vice president John Sprouls. The email said that an unspecified “majority” of Universal Orlando employees are fully vaccinated, but for those who aren’t, they’ll be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and continue wearing a face mask starting Feb. 9.
That’s the date that the Biden administration’s test-or-vaccination mandate — otherwise known as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Emergency Temporary Standard — will start issuing citations for companies with 100 or more employees who aren’t in compliance. Legal challenges have resulted in its delay in 25 states, including Florida, and its final fate will rest with the Supreme Court, which heard arguments on the regulation on Jan. 7.
Universal Orlando spokesperson Tom Schroder addressed the pending case in his email to media outlets, stating, “We will also be monitoring legal action involving these regulations by a variety of state and private interests and will adapt accordingly if there are changes.”
Last August, Universal required employees to share their vaccination status with the company, though Sprouls said in his Monday email that 7 percent of resort workers have still not done so.
At Disney World, a vaccine mandate was announced for union, non-union and salaried employees last year, but was later put on hold when the state of Florida banned companies from enforcing such mandates.
The only organized resistance to the vaccine requirement was a September protest in Orlando that consisted of about 50 Disney World workers, led by a cast member called Nick Caturano, whose website falsely claims that COVID-19 vaccines have killed nearly 14,000 people.
Correction: A previous version of this article inaccurately stated that COVID-19 vaccinations were mandatory for Disney World employees. While such a mandate was announced, it was later suspended after a Florida law banned private employers from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates.