Several of Walt Disney World's most popular live shows could be returning soon, after the union representing their performers said it has agreed to allow its members to return to work.
Actors’ Equity Association said that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Walt Disney World Resort after Disney agreed to provide Covid-19 testing for cast members at the resort.
"We have been consistent that testing is an important part of ensuring a safe workplace for Equity performers, and today, I’m pleased to see that Disney World has agreed," Actors’ Equity Association President Kate Shindle said. "With the news that Disney will make testing available for Equity performers and others in the park, I’m happy to announce that Equity’s executive committee has signed a memorandum of understanding with Disney for Equity performers to return."
Unions representing other Walt Disney World cast members had signed agreements with the company for their covered employees to return to the resort under its new health and safety procedures, but Equity had held out for expanded on-site testing. Disney declined to recall those performers, leaving their shows dark since the parks reopened last month.
Shows affected by the dispute include Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo - The Musical, Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage, and the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.
It's not yet clear when any of these shows might reopen. Remember, with physical distancing requirements, they would have to play to sharply reduced capacities, so Disney might choose to continue to keep some shows dark purely for economic reasons.
Update: Disney is disputing the union leader's suggestion that it had opened its testing center at the union's request.
"We have offered the location to help with community testing and any suggestion that this has been done as a result of any one union is unfounded. The Florida Division of Emergency Management will operate the location which is available to Cast Members and their immediate families as well as Florida residents. Our actions support all cast and our community at large," Disney said in a statement.Tweet
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