(NewsNation Now) — The Walt Disney Company announced Friday it will require all salaried and non-union hourly Disney employees working in the United States to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Disney, which has more than 200,000 employees across the world, said employees will be given 60 days from Friday to complete the requirement.
The company is currently negotiating with labor unions about the new policy.
At The Walt Disney Company, the safety and well-being of our employees during the pandemic has been and continues to be a top priority. Toward that end, and based on the latest recommendations of scientists, health officials and our own medical professionals that the COVID-19 vaccine provides the best protection against severe infection, we are requiring that all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the U.S. working at any of our sites be fully vaccinated,” the company said in a statement.
The statement continued:
“Employees who aren’t already vaccinated and are working on-site will have 60 days from today to complete their protocols and any employees still working from home will need to provide verification of vaccination prior to their return, with certain limited exceptions. We have also begun conversations around this topic with the unions representing our employees under collective bargaining agreements. In addition, all new hires will be required to be fully vaccinated before beginning employment. Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees.”DISNEY COMPANY STATMENT
The move comes three days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant of the coronavirus is fueling infection surges.
Elsewhere, Ford Motor Co. said it would reinstate mask protocols for all employees and visitors at its Missouri and Florida facilities. The two states are among the hardest hit by the summer surge in which the U.S. is now averaging more than 60,000 new cases a day, driven by the highly contagious delta variant.
A few days after CDC eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people back in May, Walmart, along with a slew of other retailers, said it wouldn’t require vaccinated shoppers to wear a mask in U.S. stores, unless state or local laws said otherwise. Walmart also said that vaccinated workers could go maskless.
On Wednesday, Google postponed the return to the office for most workers until mid-October. The company plans to roll out a policy that will eventually require everyone to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened in an attempt to fight the spreading delta variant.
In an email, CEO Sundar Pichai told Google’s more than 130,000 worldwide employees that the company is now aiming to bring them back to its offices Oct. 18, instead of its previous target date of Sept. 1. He also disclosed that once offices are fully reopened, everyone working there will have to be vaccinated.
The Associated Press and Nexstar Media Wire contributed to this report.
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