The Walt Disney Co. (DIS) – Get Walt Disney Company Report has halted its requirement that Disney World employees receive the Covid-19 vaccine after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation restricting such workplace mandates.
Disney said that it believes its approach to mandatory vaccines has been the right one, according to a Saturday statement reported by The Washington Post, but because of uncertainty regarding new laws, it “will address legal developments as appropriate.”
DeSantis on Thursday signed Florida legislation, which was passed in a special session, that prohibits private employer Covid-19 vaccine mandates. Employees can instead choose from numerous exemptions, opt for periodic testing or personal protective equipment as an exemption, and employers must cover costs of testing and PPE.
Employers who violate the law face fines, with businesses employing 99 or fewer workers fined $10,000 per employee violation, and larger businesses fined $50,000 per violation.
Disney in July mandated that all its salaried and non-union hourly workers in the United States to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Employees who were unvaccinated had 60 days from July 30 to be vaccinated. All new hires would need to be vaccinated before beginning their employment.
Disney World on Nov. 8 relaxed an employee mask requirement and would no longer require fully vaccinated workers to wear masks in backstage areas.
While Disney World in Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake, Fla., has halted its Covid-19 employee vaccine mandate, Disney has not altered its policy for Disneyland and California Adventure in Anaheim, Calif.
Shares of Disney on Friday rose slightly in after-hours trading to $154.03. The stock had fallen 1% in the regular session.