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Rep. Eskamani Says Phase Three Reopening Could Put More Theme Park Workers At Risk

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Photo: 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 three 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.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »