President Joe Biden met earlier today with business executives and CEOs from major organizations across the country, including CEO of the Walt Disney Company Bob Chapek to discuss the importance of vaccinations for U.S. workers.
The meeting followed the news of last week’s vaccine mandates for nearly all federal employees and contractors under the Biden administration as well as by a number of larger companies across the country. Disney’s inclusion in the meeting followed the company’s news last month of its own requirement for unionized employees at the Walt Disney World Resort to be fully vaccinated by October 22, 2021 at the latest. (Additional salaried and non-union hourly Cast Members have until the end of this month to get vaccinated under the current requirements.)
Other participants in the meeting included executives from Microsoft, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Kaiser Permanente Healthcare System, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream.
The federal government has been pushing for state and local governments to move toward vaccination requirements to help stop the spread of COVID-19 as the country finds itself in another surge, however without the entire country on the same page, the Biden administration is now looking to larger corporations.
While opinion polls support evidence that the majority of Americans would be in favor of a vaccine mandate in some capacity, the return of mask mandates in many areas and the harsh treatment toward service and hospitality workers by the general public throughout the COVID-19 pandemic may understandably leave some businesses and local governments shaken.
It is the White House’s goal that meetings like the one on Wednesday will inspire other businesses to follow in the footsteps of trusted entities who have successfully worked with vaccine mandates for employees. Some companies are stepping up and requiring workers to either get vaccinated or commit to weekly COVID tests, and following the news earlier this year that the FDA had granted full approval to Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccines, the Biden administration is hopeful that these meetings will have some productive results.
At Walt Disney World and travel destinations around the country, it is worth noting that we have seen large scale cancellations of resort reservations and extremely low crowds in the parks when COVID-19 restrictions have returned. Most recently, lots of cancellations and low crowd levels were reported when Disney moved back to their indoor mask requirements.
If a noticeable amount of Guests are cancelling their travel when mask requirements return, it stands to reason that increases in vaccinations and ultimately slowing the spread of COVID-19 would get us closer to precedented times. Assuming this causes case numbers to go down, we should see more relaxed restrictions or the removal of restrictions at theme parks and other locations.
We will keep you posted on the inclusion of Disney executives in further meetings regarding vaccine mandates, and hope to share a productive outcome on the subject soon.