A performer dressed as Mickey Mouse entertains guests during the reopening of the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, U.S., on Friday, April 30, 2021.
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The Walt Disney Company said Friday it is requiring all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the U.S. to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by the end of September.
Employees who are still working from home will be required to provide verification of vaccination prior to returning to any Disney sites, including theme parks and offices.
Disney said it has begun conversations with the unions that represent its other employees, particularly those that work at its theme parks.
“Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees,” the company said in a statement.
The notice comes shortly after Disney said it would begin requiring theme parks guests to wear masks while in indoor locations at its domestic theme parks regardless of vaccine status.
This policy was put in place after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course and recommended that fully vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors again in places with high Covid transmission rates. These hot spots include states like California and Florida where Disney’s U.S. parks are located.
The CDC warned Thursday that the delta variant sweeping across the country is as contagious as chickenpox. It also has a longer transmission window than the original Covid-19 strain and may make older people sicker, even if they’ve been fully vaccinated.
Other companies that have instituted new vaccination policies include Google, Facebook and Walmart.
Disney has updated its safety policies in accordance with local health regulations both domestically and internationally since the pandemic began. Most recently, the company began requiring proof of a Covid vaccination or a negative Covid test prior to entry at its Paris-based theme park based on French guidelines.