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Phase 3 Reopening Could Put More Florida Theme Park Workers At Risk, Senator Says

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Jelleke Vanooteghem @ilumire

Central Florida lawmakers say Gov. Ron DeSantis might be endangering Florida workers with preexisting health conditions by reopening the state. The state moved to Phase 3 on Friday.

The governor’s executive order will allow theme parks in Orlando to reopen at full capacity when officials choose.

Rep. Anna Eskamani says this means workers who are at the highest risk of contracting coronavirus but are currently furloughed might be called back to work.

“They could be terminated for that and then potentially ineligible for benefits moving forward which is one way the state can kick people off the unemployment system.”

Eskmani says that’s a problem in a county that already has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.

“Right now in Central Florida, we have an unemployment rate that is around 11 percent, we’re one of the highest, probably the highest in the state of Florida for the unemployment rate. SeaWorld has fired, has laid off more staff, meanwhile they are now announcing rehires. And yet many of these workers that were laid off are going to have to reapply with the hope they’ll get their job back.”

In a statement, Disney said they will not make any immediate changes, while SeaWorld says they will evolve procedures based on state and local government recommendations.

By Danielle Prieur
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