Walt Disney World employees are urging park executives and state and local officials to reconsider delaying the reopening of the parks due to concern over the recent surge of coronavirus cases in Florida in a petition posted to moveon.org.
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“This virus is not gone, unfortunately, it’s only become worse in this state,” cast members wrote. “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. Mayors, theme park executives, government officials — please hear what we are saying.”
Coronavirus cases in Florida surpassed 100,000 Monday, according to the latest update by the state's health department.
The petition, which had more than 3,800 signatures as of Monday evening, says the Florida theme parks "should not be planning to operate until the cases have gone down again" and that "retreating back to an earlier Phase in re-opening is our best option at not exposing the virus to thousands and thousands of theme park employees and their families."
"Keeping ourselves and our visitors safe is our number one priority, in every theme park," the cast members added. "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."
A spokesperson for the Walt Disney Company did not immediately return FOX Business' request for comment.
Eric Clinton, president of the Unite Here Local 362 union that represents Disney workers, told the Orlando Sentinel he was unaware of the effort and that most employees he's spoken with are "pretty excited" to return to work.
“Disney Springs has been open for over a month, and I haven’t heard of one news report or one cast member or one guest saying, ‘I got COVID 19,′” he added.
The petition by employees is the latest attempt to delay Walt Disney World's reopening following a Change.org petition launched last month to keep the parks closed throughout the summer, which has garnered more than 2,000 signatures.
Disneyland in California is also facing similar pushback with a petition signed by more than 45,000 people to delay the reopening until "cases of Covid-19 drop and Health Officials state it is safer for everyone but to still practice social distancing." Disneyland Resort will begin its phased reopening starting July 9, with Disneyland and California Adventure's reopenings planned for July 17 pending state approvals.
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Disney World's reopening plan will begin with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom opening to the public starting July 11 followed by Hollywood Studios and EPCOT on July 15. Walt Disney World has been closed since mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic began to spread across the United States.