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Disney cast members worried about COVID-19 as parks reopen

Some employees are concerned most about guests following park guidelines.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Walt Disney World is just hours away from fully reopening to the public, but some cast members have mixed feelings about the return of Disney magic.

Disney World has already held cast member and annual passholder preview days so staff could practice and adjust COVID-19 safety guidelines. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen on Saturday. EPCOT and Hollywood Studios will follow on July 15.

The reopening of Disney World is happening even as the number of positive coronavirus cases in Florida continues to rise. California's Disneyland delayed reopening as cases rose.

More than 19,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Disney World to delay its opening, suggesting that opening the parks right now would put staff and guests at risk. 

"Re-opening the theme parks is only putting our guests, employees and families at higher risk for contracting COVID-19. While theme parks are a great way to relax and enjoy free time, it is a non-essential business; it is not fair to the people who work there to risk their lives, especially if they are at risk or have family members who are at risk. People are more important than making a profit," the petition states.

10 Tampa Bay spoke to a Disney cast member, who has not been called back to work and asked not to be named, about their concerns about Disney's reopening. 

"I feel like if the cast members and guests worked together to follow the rules, I would feel safe. It's really the guests coming into the park that I'm worried about because it is summer in Florida and it's hot. People are having trouble just wearing masks in general already," the cast member said. 

The cast member supports the changes Disney has put in place, like physical distancing, hand washing stations, temperature checks and a mask requirement. However, they're concerned about how well guests will follow those guidelines outlined by the parks.

Actors' Equity Association, the union that represents 750 performers at Disney World, has called on the company to delay reopening. The union also requested Disney World make regular testing available because "actors cannot practice social distancing. 

Actors' Equity Association is filing a complaint against the company, saying Disney World rescinded its recall notices for Equity members.

According to the New York Times, a spokesperson for Disney World said the company "decided to move forward with our phased reopening without their participation."

RELATED: Union claims Disney World retaliated against members over reopening requests

RELATED: Disney World resumes theme park ticket and hotel sales for 2020

RELATED: Walt Disney World reopening: What to know before you go

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