The Disneyland Resort is offering three different ways for cast members to obtain free COVID-19 tests.
“We have finalized a plan for all working cast members of the Disneyland Resort to have access to free, easily accessible testing options,” Disney theme parks chief medical officer Pamela Hymel said in a statement.
The Disneyland Resort includes Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure and Downtown Disney.
Cast members who have been in contact with someone carrying COVID-19 or think they may be symptomatic were already able to get tested at an Anaheim clinic.
Beginning October 9, cast members will also be able to take a drive-thru test at their local CVS pharmacy.
A third option will be available beginning October 26: an at-home, mail-in COVID-19 test for all working and returning cast members who believe they are symptomatic or have been exposed at work. These can be taken up to once a week.
All three testing options are free for cast members.
Disneyland Resort officials have also agreed last week to adopt a raft of anti-COVID healthy and safety measures recommend by OC Health Care Agency officials after the latter inspected the Resort theme parks.
More testing options has been a demand of several Disneyland Resort employee unions. One of those unions, Workers United Local 50, signed an MOU with Disney this weekend. Local 50 primarily represents food service cast member.
Over the last several months Local 50 and other members of the “Coalition of Resort Labor Unions [CRLU] have been pressing Disney on COVID-19 testing. Today, we were happy to hear that the Company has created a program to provide COVID-19 testing to cast members. We believe in doing so Disney is creating an even safer cast environment,” said Local 50 President Chris Duarte in a statement on Facebook.
The Disneyland Resort has been shut down since mid-March 2020, and the company’s Disney Parks, Entertainment and Products division announced it is laying off 28,000 employees. The company had been furloughing those cast members while continuing to pay for their health care premiums.
The theme parks cannot open their doors due to Governor Newsom’s refusal to issue theme park re-opening guidelines. Newsom said last week he is “in no hurry” to re-open theme parks.
While Newsom was making that statement, it was announced 2,858 out of the 7,796 Disney cast members represented by Workers United Local 50 would be laid off.
All other Disney theme parks re-opened months ago. Walt Disnet World in Orlando, Florida re-opened three months ago. No cases of coronavirus infection have been traced back to the park. Two weeks ago, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ended all COVID-19 restrictions on business operations.
The most militant Resort union, UNITE-HERE Local 11, appears to be in no hurry for the Resort to re-open so it’s members can return to work. The Anaheim Resort shutdown – not only of Disney properties but the general area hotel shutdown – had resulted in approximately 90% of Local 11 members being laid-off or furloughed.
An estimated 950 Local 11 members will be included among the 28,000 cast members being laid off. However, the militantly progressive union is apparently applying no pressure on Governor Newsom to allow the Resort to re-open so its members can return to work.
“The union will engage in bargaining with the company over issues including job security and healthcare coverage,” was Local 11’s only comment.