New York (CNN Business)The head of the union representing 43,000 Walt Disney World service workers said that Disney “has to get it right” in regard to its phased Florida reopening Saturday.
Matt Hollis, who leads the Services Trades Council Union, told CNN that Disney was responding with robust measures to protect employees following worries over safety. He acknowledges that there will likely be cases of coronavirus in the park, but he is confident that the company will do the contact tracing necessary to stop the spread.
Most important to Hollis is ensuring that any infected worker is encouraged to provide names of contacts, and that those contacts can stay home with pay. That’s part of the reason it was important for the company to grant any worker who needs to quarantine two weeks of full pay, which Hollis says the company has promised to do.
On Tuesday, the company’s parks chief medical officer posted about all the changes the company is making, saying Saturday will mark “the first of our domestic theme parks to welcome guests back to the magic.”
Disney will have recalled about 20,000 of the 43,000 workers in the Service Trades Council Union to its Florida parks. These workers have hundreds of different job responsibilities, ranging from bus drivers to concierges, according to Hollis.
Hundreds of workers have started to enter and exit the park for “cast previews” this week to test the new policies and procedures, which will include temperature checks, enhanced cleaning protocols and more buses for employees so employees can keep a safe distance, said Hollis.
Among the changes spotted by Disney (DIS) fan blogs included are temperature checks at the entrance, character interactions from a distance and physical distancing barriers on rides. There are also no-mask “relaxation stations” and face shields on cast members.
“We continue to make modifications and requests” to the new safety protocols, said Hollis. So far, the company has made good on those requests, Hollis said.
He added: “We are working on a ton of things, from ensuring there aren’t too many people clocking in at once to adding more buses so there’s more space on each one.”
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