While nearly every business type across the country has faced staffing difficulties due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism and hospitality industry along with other areas of the service industry have potentially seen the worst of it. Many locations at the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort that have still not reopened are likely the result of continued staffing challenges as the company continues to navigate reopening during the pandemic.
At the Disneyland Resort, the recent weeks have brought on increased cases of COVID-19 among Cast Members, prompting additional staffing challenges as more employees take time off from work to either isolate at home or recover from symptoms. Cast Members who need to take time off due to testing positive for COVID-19 are entitled to two weeks of pay (based on their work schedule for full time Cast and select part time roles.) The payment requests however, need to be processed through Disney’s internal Cast Member management system (known as the HUB) which is now backlogged due to so many requests being submitted within the same timeframe.
Earlier in the pandemic, some Cast Members who were laid off from both Disneyland and Walt Disney World found themselves dealing with unemployment delays due to so many people applying and overloading the system back in 2020, so it is certainly frustrating for Cast Members who are now testing positive for COVID-19 to feel a similar stress while requesting pay from work.
Cast Members who test positive are required to submit documentation through the HUB to receive this paid time off and there is currently no work around that would allow them access to the two-week COVID pay without going through this process. The Workers United Local 50 Disneyland union has contacted Cast Members internally however to share that Disney is aware of the backlog and is working to find additional ways to submit documentation as soon as possible.
While the Disneyland Resort has scaled back on the number of health and safety guidelines put in place earlier during the parks’ reopening process, Guests and Cast Members at Disneyland are still required to wear masks while indoors. Advanced reservations continue to be used as well to manage crowd levels inside the theme parks.