Psaki accuses DeSantis of ‘taking a step back’ by ending Disney’s employee vaccine mandate

Biden White House sets up another battle with Ron DeSantis after Psaki accused him of ‘taking a step back’ by ending Disney’s employee vaccine mandate to protect jobs

White House press secretary Jen Psaki accused Gov. Ron DeSantis of ‘taking a step back’ after Disney World paused its vaccine mandate in response to new Florida laws requiring broad exemptions. 

 ‘The governor there has consistently taken steps to take steps backward, as it relates to fighting the pandemic, not forward,’ Psaki said when asked about the Disney pause. 

The theme park put its vaccine mandate on hold for employees this week after DeSantis signed a law ‘prohibiting’ vaccine mandates by requiring employers to allow for exemptions such as proof of past Covid-19 infection, pregnancy or anticipated future pregnancy, and medical or religious concerns. 

Employees can also opt for periodic testing and mask-wearing instead. Employers that violate the new law can be fined anywhere between $10,000 and $50,000 per employee. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

‘The governor there has consistently taken steps to take steps backward, as it relates to fighting the pandemic, not forward,’ Psaki said when asked about the Disney pause

The theme park put its vaccine mandate on hold for employees this week after DeSantis signed a law 'prohibiting' vaccine mandates by requiring employers to allow for exemptions

The theme park put its vaccine mandate on hold for employees this week after DeSantis signed a law ‘prohibiting’ vaccine mandates by requiring employers to allow for exemptions

Government entities cannot require coronavirus vaccinations of anyone, nor can schools. 

‘Nobody should lose their job due to heavy-handed COVID mandates, and we had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida,’ the GOP governor said in a statement. 

The Biden administration had instituted a nationwide vaccine mandate ordering employers with 100 or more workers to require vaccination or weekly Covid-19 testing and masks. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suspended implementation of its order after a federal court upheld a stay on a ruling ordering OSHA to ‘take no steps to implement or enforce’ the emergency order ‘until further court order.’

Psaki said that businesses could still implement their own mandate, and the order will ‘litigated through the process.’

‘I would note that a recent poll showed that 60% of business leaders wanted to move forward on their own with vaccine requirement,’ she said. ‘We’ve seen them implemented, at a lot of companies, they’ve been effective, and overall it gives a lot of businesses certainty about their workforce, makes people feel more confident in coming back to work.’ 

Disney said in announcing its own pause: ‘We believe that our approach to mandatory vaccines has been the right one as we have continued to focus on the safety and well-being of our Cast Members and Guests, and at this point, more than 90 percent of active Florida-based Cast Members have already verified that they are fully vaccinated.’

Disney’s vaccine requirements remain in place for employees of its subsidiary companies across the country and guests five and older in its cruise lines.  

Executives of Disney, along with United Parcel Service Inc and others, met with White House officials last month to discuss President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement plan for private-sector workers, amid concerns it could worsen labor shortages and supply-chain woes.

Disney had made vaccination mandatory on July 30 for all its on-site salaried and non-union hourly employees in the United States. 

Florida currently averages 43.1 coronavirus deaths per day, behind Texas, California, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Georgia. Sixty-one percent of its residents are fully vaccinated, ahead of the national average – 59%.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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