Disney workers urge Gov. DeSantis to include them in vaccine eligibility

Local 362 says state depends on tourism and all hospitality workers are essential

On the same day that Gov. Ron DeSantis announced changes to the age eligibility for vaccines around the state, workers at Disney are calling on him to open it up to all hospitality workers.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – On the same day that Gov. Ron DeSantis announced changes to the age eligibility for vaccines around the state, workers at Disney are calling on him to open it up to all hospitality workers.

The governor said the state is prioritizing age over occupation, but union workers say what they do is essential and should be included.

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Around a dozen Disney cast members met outside Disney World Resort urging DeSantis to open vaccine eligibility to not only Disney workers, but all hospitality workers saying the work they do is truly magical for the state.

“We cannot hide from the fact that we are a state dependent on tourism,“ said Eric Clinton with Local 362.

Clinton says he’s fighting for the 9,000 plus Disney workers who he says need to be vaccinated.

The union says they put the happy in the “happiest place on earth” and say no matter what the state age requirement is to get the vaccine, they too need protection.

Clinton said, “If the business is essential to the state’s economy, then well then the people who work there is also essential.”

Workers like Kinsey Doerr who said she lost a loved one to COVID-19 and even with COVID-safety at top of mind she says she will not leave her job.

“All of us like working for Disney, we like making magic for guests, but we can’t leave our jobs and we don’t want to leave our jobs so to us if hospitality is the root to all of Central Florida, we are essential,” Doerr said.

Friday, state leaders announced they are lowering the age for vaccine eligibility to 50 and older starting Monday.

DeSantis, in a previous statement, said, “We’re not doing any occupation changes we’re going to do an age-based approach going forward.”

The governor has stuck to those words. Even knowing this Disney workers said the governor needs to take a second look at their situation.

“It should go by occupation because he said last year when we were re-opening that we are essential,” Marissa Flint said.

Starting Monday, union workers will be reaching out on social media to amplify their message as well as going into the break rooms at Disney resorts urging members to get active and apply pressure to the state.


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About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.