Universal workers must be vaccinated or get weekly testing

FILE - Signs about social distancing and other protocols are seen about the theme park as guests walk by at Universal Orlando Resort on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Orlando, Fla.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Starting next month, workers at Universal Orlando’s theme parks will have to be vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing in order to comply with federal guidelines, company officials said Wednesday.

A majority of workers already are vaccinated. The new policy doesn’t affect guests.

Under federal regulations that took effect Monday, companies with 100 or more employees must require workers to be vaccinated or mandate unvaccinated employees to undergo weekly COVID testing. The regulations are being challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Workers at Universal’s theme parks must be fully vaccinated by Feb. 9 or be required to take a test every week, Universal officials said in a statement. They said the company initially will provide free, onsite testing.

“The health and safety of our guests and team members has been our ongoing focus during the pandemic,” the statement said. “We will also be monitoring legal action involving these regulations by a variety of state and private interests and will adapt accordingly if there are changes.”

Last fall, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a measure prohibiting private businesses from having vaccine mandates unless they allow workers to opt out for medical reasons, religious beliefs, immunity based on a previous infection, regular testing or an agreement to wear protective gear. The federal law trumps Florida’s.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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