by Beth Keating
August 12, 2020
Disney guests are one step closer to seeing their favorite performers live at Disney World in Florida, thanks to a memorandum of understanding signed by the Actors’ Equity Association’s Executive Committee.
Today’s (August 12) statement confirms that Disney has agreed to provide an on-site center for COVID-19 testing at Walt Disney World. The inability to test performers for the virus had been a sticking point in the cast members’ return. On June 23, Disney recalled cast members for rehearsals in preparation for reopening the parks, but the Actors’ Equity Association balked, fearing that, since many of the actors could not practice social distancing in their roles, they would need to be routinely tested for cast members’ safety. Disney then rescinded the offer for the employees to return until the details could be worked out, leaving shows dark when the parks reopened.
Testing is available at the Disney Maingate Complex for Disney cast members, Operating Participant employees, and their family members. Results take 3-5 days to return.
On the Actors’ Equity website, Kate Shindle, President of Actors’ Equity Association, notes, “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. 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.”
Actors’ Equity Association is the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers in live theatre venues, including Equity performers at Disney. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the association represents some 750 actors working in Disney World.
Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.