Disney parks employees say the company is underreporting its COVID-19 cases and workers are asked to return to the park even if they're still positive.
The company’s two parks in Orlando Florida and Anaheim, California reopened in early July but there’s a stark difference between how Disney treats its amusement parks and the NBA Bubble in Florida.
The NBA Bubble opened in Disney World to allow the basketballs eason to continue. The facility allows NBA staff, players, and coaches to adhere to strict social distancing and isolation requirements with regular on-site testing.
While the NBA Bubble boasted efficient and plentiful resources, in California the Downtown Disney district said they had no on-site testing.
Disney parks employees say the company is underreporting its COVID-19 cases and workers are asked to return to the park even if they're still positive. A view of Walt Disney World in Florida above. Disney World in Florida added a coronavirus testing center in August, but Disneyland in California does not have on-site testing
Disney Labor Relations Director Bill Place said in a leter to unions in June that testing is 'not viable' and prone to 'false negatives', despite testing provided in Orlando.
Four sources told the Daily Beast that Disney kept the total number of positive cases at the district under wraps.
The sources said Disney alerted the unions only about the positive test results of their members often days after the fact, risking exposure.
They also didn’t formally announce to employees who was testing positive so colleagues disappeared for days at a time.
The lack of organization left 11 people from a 12-person Horticulture Irrigation team temporarily out for a week.
To add to the alarming spread of the virus, the California park allows thousands to enter with just a temperature check, and cast members are allegedly told to not anger customers in a bid to keep business booming.
It's a stark contrast from how Disney World treats the NBA bubble, which on August 19 reported zero NBA players tested positive for the fifth consecutive week.
In the bubble teams stay at three different hotels, play at the ESPN Wide World of Spots Complex, and are not allowed outside of the bubble.
Players are tested for COVID-19 everyday and monitored for symptoms.
Four sources say Disney has the total number of positive cases at the district 'under wraps' and unions aren't sharing how many cases they have
Employees and 'cast members' reveal they learn of COVID-19 cases through word of mouth rather than from Disney directly
'We want to know if any cast members have tested positive. But Disney has taken the position that they’re only going to tell us if our cast members do,' Matt Bell, a spokesperson for UFCW Local 324, one of dozen unions representing workers at Disneyland said to the Daily Beast.
'What is supposed to happen is contact tracing—find out who was exposed and quarantine them as well. I can’t confirm that they’ve done that,' he added.
'Basically all of our COVID information has come from word of mouth,' a woman who goes by Alicia, the spouse of a cast member whose contract bans them from speaking to press said.
'Co-workers texting each other, co-workers talking to each other, and things that my [spouse] has seen on the job. None of this is from any of the managers. Disney management is not really officially acknowledging that any of this is happening,' she