While many are certainly excited that Disney parks are set to reopen next month, Disney World employees have signed a petition to delay the opening "until it's safe." So far, the petition has received more than 8,000 signatures.
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is set to begin a phased reopening on July 11 through to July 15. The park has been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic since March, leaving its 70,000 employees without work for several months. Despite this, many of those employees are urging Disney Parks executives to reconsider the opening of the theme park.
In a Move.org petition titled "Protect our Magic Makers: Don’t Open Theme Parks Until it’s Safe," people are asking park executives and government officials, including Mayor Buddy Dyer, Mayor Jerry Demings, to reevaluate plans to reopen due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Florida recently. As of Wednesday, the state reported more than 5,000 new cases, according to WPLG. "Because of the increase in cases suddenly, it is clear that theme parks — a non-essential business — should not be planning to operate until the cases have gone down again," the petition reads.
"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," the petition continues. "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."
While Romper's request for comment from Disney Parks was not immediately returned, a spokesperson told CNN Business they are "active dialogue with our unions on the extensive health and safety protocols, following guidance from public health experts, which we plan to implement." The spokesperson also said the "safety and wellbeing of our cast members and guests are at the forefront of our planning," a
As Walt Disney World prepares to reopen the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11, with Hollywood and EPCOT studios to follow on July 15, safety precautions will be put in place to protect guests and employees. Measures like social distancing, face masks for guests and employees, reduced park capacity, hand sanitizer stations, and temperature monitoring. But Disney World employees who have signed the petition to reevaluate the opening are not confident these measures will be enough to stop the spread of COVID-19. "Theme park workers aren’t essential workers. Your vacation is not worth my health," one person who signed the petition wrote.
Florida continues to shockingly high numbers of coronavirus reported daily, according to CNN, with an average of more than 3,000 new cases reported daily in the past week with no sign of slowing down.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.