The Walt Disney Co. and Walmart announced new policies late last week that will require nearly every employee working for the companies in the United States to be vaccinated against the CCP virus.
Disney’s new measure will give both salaried and non-union hourly employees across the nation 60 days to be compliant, the company said in a July 30 statement. Newly hired employees will also be required to be fully vaccinated before beginning employment.
“Employees who aren’t already vaccinated and are working on-site will have 60 days from today to complete their protocols and any employees still working from home will need to provide verification of vaccination prior to their return, with certain limited exceptions,” according to the statement.
The company said that it also started conversations with union leaders representing employees over COVID-19 vaccinations.
“Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees,” Disney said. The international family entertainment and media enterprise, which has about 203,000 employees, is headquartered in Burbank, California.
It’s unclear how many employees are affected and whether workers will be given the option to show a weekly COVID-19 test as other companies with similar proof of vaccination mandates have allowed.
Disney’s policy was announced as several big-tech companies, including Google and Facebook, said in July that every American employee must get a shot before stepping back into offices.
Also last week, Arkansas-based multinational retailer Walmart said all employees at its headquarters and managers who travel within the United States must be vaccinated by early October.
“We’re hoping that will influence even more of our frontline associates to become vaccinated,” said Scott Pope, a Walmart spokesman.
The retailer, which announced in May that fully vaccinated employees could work without masks, also reversed its mask policy for employees working in stores, clubs, distribution facilities, and warehouses. Going forward, they will be required to wear masks in areas with high infection rates, even if they have been vaccinated.
Walmart is also encouraging customers to wear masks in stores located in areas where cases are surging and will be adding signs at the entrances. It also will bring back so-called health ambassadors who will be stationed at the entrances and hand out masks.
The reversal in mask policies came three days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) altered its CCP virus-related guidance once again, telling people to wear masks in some areas even if they are fully vaccinated.
New research into outbreaks from several states and other countries “indicate[s] that on rare occasions some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others.” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, told reporters on a call.
The research indicates that vaccinated people who contract the Delta variant have the same viral load (amount of virus) as unvaccinated people, and that vaccinated people can transmit the variant.
“This new science is worrisome and warrants an update to our recommendations,” Walensky said.