Within days of the announcement that Disneyland will reopen with additional security measures to prevent COVID-19 infections, amusement park workers said they worried about their well-being and that of their families.

Disney is seeking government authorization to reopen the Disneyland Resort in July.

Lupita Ortiz, 59, who has worked as a maid for the past 15 years in one of the theme park hotels, called for more protection measures. He said he lives with two adult children and a minor granddaughter, and that he fears putting them at risk.

"It will be very worrying to return from work and think that if my granddaughter approaches me, I could be infected," she said.

The woman said that she does not mind working and that, moreover, she misses returning to her job after more than two months of being at home. But it is also aware that guests come from all over the world and the specific condition of each is not known.

"It will be necessary that they also hire more people because the company already knows that this is going to be much more work for us," said Ortiz. “I don't refuse to work but I also love myself and my family. I don't want to expose them. ”

After hearing these constant concerns from employees, and the lack of agreement with the company, the Resort Labor Union Coalition (CRLU) on Wednesday sent a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom to reconsider the reopening of Disneyland.

The coalition, made up of a dozen unions that total more than 17,000 Disneyland employees, said each union has met with the Disney company to discuss terms for the reopening.

Although they have reached an agreement on some issues, such as taking the temperature of all the cast members upon entering the workplace, they indicate that there are numerous requests that are still not answered, such as testing employees for coronavirus.

Disneyland workers renewing their contract in 2018. (Unite Here 11)

Ada Briceño, co-chair of UNITE HERE 11 – one of the CRLU coalition unions – said these safety methods are necessary since many workers live in crowded homes and can put their families at risk.

"We believe that now it is not yet safe to open … We want to make sure everyone is ready," he said.
UNITE HERE 11's requests to the company include asking for higher standards in cleanliness.

"We require a deeper cleaning with electrostatic shine for the bathrooms and guarantee that managers will be there to enforce the rule and that they do not leave that responsibility to the workers," said Briceño.

Disney agreed to provide regular masks for workers, but the union believes an N95 mask with a face shield will be safer.

By the numbers

Briceño said the park's reopening should be reconsidered, especially now that Orange County is facing a surge in coronavirus infections.

By Friday, this area reported 85 deaths in the last 14 days. 288 new cases of coronaviruses were also reported, reaching a total of 9,576. With this total, he was aiming for a total of 59% of his ICU beds occupied in hospitals.

In response to union requests, Disney said in a statement that the safety and well-being of its cast members and guests are at the forefront of its planning.

"We hope to continue the dialogue with our unions regarding health and safety protocols, following the guidance of experts in public health, which we plan to implement to move towards our proposal for gradual reopening."

Visit without exact date

Some Disneyland fans have mixed feelings.

Some believe that the reopening is very soon but that it is also impossible to stop it despite the fact that contagion numbers continue to rise.

Nubia López has an annual pass for her and her family. However, she plans to wait until at least 2021 to return to the park because her oldest son is 2 years old and is currently pregnant with her second baby.

"(Also) my father is part of the highest risk group for being over 65 years old and diabetic. My parents are my child care providers, so I don't want to put them at risk, ”he said.

She added that although Disneyland tells them they have procedures to disinfect the park, she will not feel comfortable in a place with many unknown people.

Nubia López and her husband Felipe Herrera at Disneyland before the pandemic. (Supplied)

For his part, Saúl Zamora, who also has an annual pass, said he has been closely following cases of contagion in Orange County and so far "they don't look very nice."

"I think I'm going to wait a bit … I have to see how they are controlling their ability. If it looks safe and controlled in about two or three months (after the reopening) I wouldn't mind going. "

And Cynthia Herrera, who considers herself a Disneyland fan and has had her annual pass for years, said she will wait at least a month to see how the situation looks.

"I want to make sure they have everything under control," he said.

"I've been healthy all this time and I wouldn't want to ruin my health by going to Disneyland one day."

As for the reopening, Herrera said that it is difficult to know if it is very soon or not but that it is a worrying matter, since he has been able to see that not everyone complies with the rules to avoid contagions.

"Customers don't keep physical distance and are offended when asked to separate … I want to believe that Disneyland is going to have a good security check." l.


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