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UNITE HERE! Union Calls on Gov. Ron DeSantis to Expand Vaccine Eligibility to include Hospitality Workers

Photo: Brian McGowan
Photo: Brian McGowan

UNITE HERE! union workers are calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to expand vaccine eligibility to include frontline tourism industry workers.

Local 362 President Eric Clinton represents some 9,000 hospitality and theme park workers who are employed in airport food service and at hotels and theme parks. 

Clinton says right now people who are under 40 years of age without a medical vulnerability can’t get vaccinated in Orange County. 

He says Disney has done a good job of enforcing face masks and social distancing, but vaccines are even more effective at stopping the spread.

“There will be workers that will tell you that look I’m able to see thousands of tourists every single day, but I can’t go see my new nephew or my new grandson or hug my parents or my grandmother. These are things that our members need to be able to do as well.”

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Clinton says if the local economy depends on these frontline workers who can’t stay home from work even if they get sick, then they should be in the priority group for shots.

DeSantis expanded eligibility to include people 50 years old and up today. 

“If our economy is based on tourism and hospitality, which it is, then the workers who do those jobs each and every day who put themselves at risk, come in contact with thousands of guests and tourists, then they should be eligible for the vaccine. And until they are, we're going to advocate for our members to have access to that."

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Register for a vaccine appointment at the Orange County Convention site here.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.