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Union representing Disney actors calls upon Disney World to delay reopening

The Actors' Equity Association said Disney World should follow Disneyland and delay reopening because of recent spikes of COVID-19 in Florida.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Following the announcement that Disneyland in California is delaying its reopening, an actors union is now calling on Disney World to delay reopening parks in Florida.

“If Disneyland has postponed, it is unclear how Walt Disney World can responsibly move toward reopening when coronavirus cases are much worse in Florida,” said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association.

Disneyland Resort in California will not reopen as planned on July 17 due to spiking coronavirus cases across the state.

The labor union, representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers, is not alone in its fight as an online petition asking Walt Disney World to reconsider its reopening plans has also been launched by a Disney cast member.

The Moveon.org petition that garnered 16,335 signatures as of June 28 suggests reopening could put guests and workers at risk saying:

"As individuals who work in the bustling tourism industry in central Florida, we are responsible for ensuring the safety of our guests and our fellow magic makers.

"Keeping ourselves and our visitors safe is our number one priority, in every theme park. This includes our health and wellbeing.

"We are encouraged to say something when we see something that we deem is unsafe so we’re speaking up."

RELATED: Petition asks Disney parks to wait on reopening

Florida is seeing similar action to California's when it comes to rapid and record-breaking reports of new COVID-19 cases across the state. 

The Sunshine State alone saw its third-straight day this week of more than 8,000 newly-confirmed coronavirus cases. It reported 8,530 cases on Sunday, making it the third-highest single-day jump in new cases since Florida began tracking in March, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.

And as cases continue to climb, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced no new major policy changes to limit the virus' spread Sunday. Instead, along with state and local health officials, he asked people to continue to wear a mask in public, sanitize common surfaces, wash your hands and avoid crowded places.

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

Here's a breakdown of the new coronavirus cases reported by the state on each day for the past week:

  • June 18: 3,207
  • June 19: 3,822
  • June 20: 4,049
  • June 21: 3,494
  • June 22: 2,926 
  • June 23: 3,286
  • June 24: 5,508
  • June 25: 5,004
  • June 26: 8,942
  • June 27: 9,585
  • June 28: 8,530

RELATED: 8,530: Florida sees third straight day of more than 8K newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases

But, despite the calls and the pressure, DeSantis is not backing down, with his office saying "we are monitoring all aspects related to COVID-19 in Florida and do not have plans to roll back any approved reopening business plans at this time."

Regardless of the state's current plan, the Actor's Equity Association wants action, calling the lack-thereof "deeply disturbing."

“For weeks, we have made it clear to Disney that testing is a fundamental part of maintaining a safe and healthy environment for everyone, from the guests to the cast," McColl said. "It is deeply disturbing that while coronavirus cases in Florida surge, Disney is refusing to provide regular testing to one of the few groups of workers in the park who by the very nature of their jobs, cannot use personal protective equipment. 

"Now is the time for Disney to pause, focus on the science, and put the safety of their actors and stage managers first by making regular testing available.”

At  this time, Walt Disney World's four theme parks are still set to reopen on the following dates:                                                       

Jully 11: Disney's Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom  

July 15: EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios

RELATED: Disneyland Resort delays reopening because of COVID-19

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