ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Walt Disney World and the coalition of unions representing thousands of its employees have reached an agreement on safety measures to protect them from the novel coronavirus when they return to work, the union announced late Thursday.

What You Need To Know

  • Disney World, Union have reached a new deal for worker safeguards

  • Agreement provides protections for employees when they return to work

  • New rules include mandatory masks, temperature checks, social distancing

The safeguards include mandatory masks for both employees and visitors, mandatory temperature checks, and social distancing practices, according to a statement from the Service Trades Council Union, which represents more than 40,000 employees at Disney World. Previously, Disney CEO said it was likely masks would be required for Disney World.

In addition, the agreement calls for clear plastic barriers at cash registers as well as touchless transactions for customers. High traffic areas will be cleaned more frequently, and additional hand washing stations will be placed across the property.

Disney employees will be trained on new safety procedures. They will also have monthly safety meetings.

Employees will be provided three masks and a thermometer upon request, according to the union.

The agreement also includes certain protections for employees if they get sick. Disney employees who have COVID-19 symptoms can call out sick "free of attendance discipline." If an employee contracts the illness, they will receive paid time off to quarantine, according to the union statement.

Disney World closed its theme parks in mid-March to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Thousands of employees were furloughed in the weeks that followed the closure.

Some employees will soon return to work. Disney World has announced plans to reopen part of its property to the public. Disney Springs will begin reopening in phases on May 20, with only a limited number of restaurants and shops in operation. New safety measures will also be in place.

Disney World has not announced a reopening date for its theme parks, water parks, or resort hotels.

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