As Disney World prepares to open back up to the public in July, employees will return to work in the next few weeks, according to a union leader.
Unite Here! Local 362 leader Eric Clinton told union members that Disney plans to bring back roughly 8,000 previously furloughed workers, according to Bay News 9. This will include full-time attraction and custodian workers. Some part-time workers will also be called back.
“With a focus on the health and wellness of our cast members and guests, we have worked with the unions on a thoughtful plan to bring thousands of our existing cast members back to work as soon as possible in a safe and responsible way," Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said, per the Orlando Sentinel.
Clinton said the expected return date for attraction employees is June 21.
Employees who are working in currently closed areas such as water parks and other attractions can temporarily transfer to other areas where there are shortages, he added.
The implementation of new safety guidelines will create new jobs as workers will be needed to clean around ride queues and monitor the lines to ensure proper social distancing is maintained as they await temperature checks prior to entering the park.
U.S workers are also needed to staff Epcot’s World Showcase as international workers were sent back home and are unable to return at the moment.
While the park is still determined to be the happiest place in the world, the post-COVID Disney will look slightly different.
Employees and visitors will be required to wear masks inside the park. Employees will no longer be allowed to take photos for visitors using their phones.
Live performances, parades, character meet-and-greets, and fireworks are all being temporarily eliminated as they would draw massive crowds where social distancing would be impossible.
“That’s how serious Disney is taking this,” Clinton said. “That’s a very different Disney World you all worked at back in March.”
Executives previously revealed a phased plan to reopen its Magic Kingdom and Disney Animal Kingdom on Saturday, July 11 and Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios on Wednesday, July 15.
On March 12, it was announced that both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando were closing "for the rest of March" amid the pandemic. The closings persisted until the mid-May reopening of Disney Springs and Universal's CityWalk.