Disney Cruise Line announced Tuesday that all Bahamian passengers will have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 as per Bahamas government regulations. This is in addition to other cruise lines who have done so.
People observe as the Disney Dream cruise vessel departs Port Canaveral, Florida the day before. [+] The cruise line has suspended all operations until March 14, 2020. SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
The Key Facts
Disney posted an advisory on Tuesday on its website stating that passengers traveling to the Bahamas on cruises between September 3rd and November 1 must have been fully vaccinated. They also need to show proof of vaccination in order to be permitted to board the ship. This is because the Bahamas has declared that cruise ships cannot enter its ports without all passengers being fully vaccinated. Other cruise lines, including Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises, have also announced vaccine mandates. All current Disney cruise ship sailings to the United States will be affected by the vaccine mandate. While its two ships currently sailing from Florida are traveling to the Bahamas, a third ship is sailing from the United Kingdom. The mandate does not affect that ship. This announcement is made after Walt Disney World in Florida reached an accord Monday with most of its workers' unions. It stipulates that all workers must be fully vaccinated by October 22 except for religious or medical exemptions. Otherwise, they will be fired. In July, Disney announced that all employees in all its divisions, both non-union and salaried, will need to be fully vaccinated.
What to Watch
The Florida law prohibiting companies from requiring proof that they have been immunized is how Disney and other cruise line vaccine mandates will fit together. Florida is currently engaged in a legal battle with cruise lines that require vaccines. Ships have been resuming sailing from Florida ports. The state argues that vaccines are in violation of state law, and could be subject to a $5,000 per-instance fine. Norwegian Cruise Line has been granted permission by a federal judge to impose a vaccine requirement on its cruises. However, the ruling only applies to Norwegian Cruise Line and not to other cruise lines that have their own mandates. Disney had complied with state law before Tuesday's vaccine mandate announcement. It recommended but did not require vaccines. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' office has not responded to a request to comment on the state's response to the new cruise-ship vaccine mandates.
We believe vaccinations are key to reducing the pandemic's impact. While we at Disney don't control the actions of the rest of the globe, we do have quarter of a billion cast members we would love to see vaccinated. While we believe we owe them, because we are in the public eye, we also owe the same to our guests.
Disney is among a growing number companies that have mandated vaccines for employees. Although there are no vaccine requirements for Disney's guests, they are asking for proof of vaccination to be provided for their leisure activities. New York City and San Francisco have strict indoor venue vaccination requirements. The Disney union agreement was reached Monday, hours after the Food and Drug Administration had announced that it had approved Pfizer/BioNTechs covid-19 vaccine. This move will likely open the door to additional vaccine mandates across the country.
The vaccine mandates by Disney come at a time when the company has been easing its Covid-19 restrictions in its parks. On a recent earnings call, Disney leadership stated that despite the Covid-19 surge in Florida, it will continue to reopen the parks. However, all of its parks are now operational. However, certain hotels and restaurants remain closed with a plan to have full staff by the end. Walt Disney World has relaxed its mask policy and made it optional to wear masks on outdoor rides and in queues. The resort also took steps to restart buffet dining and make use of biometric fingerprint scanners at entrances to the parks.
Disney Cruise Line Important Information (Disney Cruise Line).
Carnival Cruise Line is following other lines that require vaccines for Bahamas sailings. (Orlando Sentinel).
Disney CEO explains the decision to require Covid vaccinations for salaried employees and non-union workers (CNBC).
Disney joins a wave of companies that require employees to get vaccinated against covid (Forbes).
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