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Disney World Suspends Vaccine Mandate. White House Attacks DeSantis.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to the media about the cruise industry during a press conference at PortMiami on April 08, 2021 in Miami, Florida. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House on July 19, 2021 in Washington, DC.
L: Joe Raedle/Getty Images; R: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On Monday, the White House attacked Florida GOP governor Ron DeSantis after Walt Disney World announced last week it was temporarily suspending its vaccine mandate, thus putting on hold its policy that all employees at the resort get vaccinated.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki snapped, “I think the Disney piece is important to differentiate because, as they’re based in Florida and, obviously, the governor there has consistently taken steps to take steps backward, as it relates to fighting the pandemic, not forward. … So that’s where they’re based,” according to Newsweek.

Psaki referred to a poll that found “60 percent of business leaders wanted to move forward on their own with vaccine requirements.” She added, “We’ve seen them implemented, at a lot of companies, they’ve been effective, and overall it gives a lot of businesses certainty about their workforce, makes people feel more confident in coming back to work.”

Last week, DeSantis signed four bills regarding COVID-19 vaccine mandates. He stated, “We’re really excited to be here, especially because when I sign this legislation today, we hear so much about all these things: mandates, restrictions, tearing people down. Today, we lift people up. We provide protections for people: no nurse, no firefighter, no police officer, no trucker, no anybody should lose their job because of these COVID jabs.”

“One of those bills, known as HB 1B, provides that private-sector employees in Florida can opt out of a vaccination mandate if they show medical or religious reasons, or if they can show immunity to COVID-19. It also provides exemptions if employees are willing to undergo regular testing or wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),” Newsweek reported, adding, “HB 1B could also see small employers fined up to $10,000 per violation for not properly following the law, while larger businesses could see fines of $50,000.”

A spokesperson for Disney stated, “We believe that our approach to mandatory vaccines has been the right one as we’ve continued to focus on the safety and well-being of our Cast Members and Guests, and at this point, more than 90 percent of active Florida-based Cast Members have already verified that they are fully vaccinated. We will address legal developments as appropriate.”

One Disney World cast member told ClickOrlando, “I feel relieved. I feel grateful. … I’m more worried about everybody else than myself and I’m happy to see that all the people that were anxious, especially around the holidays, got that pressure off their back, that monkey off their back, and they’re going to be able to keep their jobs.’’

DeSantis’ spokesperson Christina Pushaw tweeted, “Nobody should lose his or her job over these mandates, and we thank legislative leaders for their part in delivering on the promise to Keep Florida Free. Disney is a major employer in Florida and we are proud that the happiest place on Earth is here in our state. We hope Disney and any other company that has suspended or terminated workers due to vaccine mandates will consider re-hiring them.”


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