It appears that the Walt Disney Company isn’t taking the same COVID-19 precautions with its Disneyland theme park workers in Anaheim, California as it is with staff and players at the NBA Bubble in Orlando, Florida’s Disney World.
In fact, Disney parks employees say that the company is underreporting virus cases and that workers are still being asked to come in for work even when they test positive, Daily Beast reports. While staff, players, coaches, and personnel at the Bubble have to comply with strict social distancing guidelines and isolation requirements, as well as on-site testing, workers in Anaheim don’t have access to the same resources. Both parks opened within days of each other in July.
Disney Labor Relations Director Bill Place said in a letter to unions in June that testing is “not viable” and prone to “false negatives,” even though testing has been enforced in Orlando. In Anaheim, the park allows thousands of visitors to enter the area with just a temperature check.
Four sources told the outlet that Disney hasn’t been forthcoming about the total number of positive cases in Anaheim, hasn’t implemented efficient contact tracing, and has only been warning unions about cases often days after learning about positive test results, while letting workers wonder why their colleagues have disappeared for days at a time. Cast members are also told not to make customers upset in order to keep business going.
In the Bubble, players are tested for coronavirus every day and are monitored for symptoms.
“We want to know if any cast members have tested positive. But Disney has taken the position that they’re only going to tell us if our cast members do,” Matt Bell, a spokesperson for UFCW Local 324, one of a dozen unions representing workers at Disneyland told Daily Beast. “What is supposed to happen is contact tracing—find out who was exposed and quarantine them as well. I can’t confirm that they’ve done that,” he added.
Workers say that the virus spreads quickly among teams largely due to a lack of transparency and on-site testing. No one from 11 unions for Disney could verify the total number of COVID-19 cases among the workforce.
It also doesn’t seem like California Gov. Gavin Newsom is worried. Earlier this month, he said that California is making “a lot of progress” toward resuming operations at Disneyland and other theme parks.