In July, one infectious disease expert said Walt Disney World’s reopening was a “terrible idea” that was “inviting disaster.” Social media users attacked Disney as “irresponsible” and “clueless” for pressing forward, even as coronavirus cases surged in Florida. A few aghast onlookers turned Disney World marketing videos into parody trailers for horror films.
Attendance has been lower than anticipated. Travel agents say families have been postponing Christmastime plans to vacation at the Orlando-area resort, in part because of concerns about the safety of flying. In recent days, Disney World, citing continued uncertainty about the duration of the pandemic, began laying off 15,550 workers, or 20 percent of its work force.
As tumultuous as the three months since the reopening have been, however, public health officials and Disney World’s unions say there have been no coronavirus outbreaks among workers or guests. So far, Disney’s wide-ranging safety measures appear to be working.
“We have no issues or concerns with the major theme parks at this point,” said Dr. Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, which includes Disney World.
Disney declined to say how many Disney World employees had tested positive for the coronavirus since the resort reopened in July. In phone interviews, union leaders said cases had been minimal.
“We’ve had very few, and none, as far as we can tell, have been from work-related exposure,” said Eric Clinton, president of UNITE HERE Local 362, which represents roughly 8,000 attraction workers and custodians.
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