SportsPulse: USA TODAY Mark Medina from Sports discusses the difficult decision of players to resume the season and how the teams reacted to the few who have already chosen to leave. USA TODAY
Will Disney restore the Magic Kingdom? Or will you oversee a Mickey Mouse operation?
The NBA will resume its season on July 30 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando, hoping that the quarantined location could become a small world after all, with game and training locations nearby, luxury hotels and several restaurants. The NBA outlined 113 pages of health and safety protocols that detail COVID-19 testing, contact tracking and numerous rules of social distance on a daily basis. However, the NBA cannot exactly sing “Hakuna Matata” and predict without worries for the rest of its days.
In a conference call with reporters on Friday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged “the level of concern has increased” amid increases across the country, both in positive tests and in deaths related to the new coronavirus. Florida was also among the most affected states recently. Therefore, Silver admitted that “no option is risk free at the moment”. However, the NBA maintained relative optimism about the configuration for reasons that go beyond consulting various health officials.
“One of the reasons we selected Orlando was because of Disney,” said Silver, “and our longstanding partnership with them and our trust in them as operators.”
Some Disney employees signed a petition to keep properties closed
Not everyone shared this optimism.
Just under 16,000 people signed a petition to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to postpone the July 11 opening of Walt Disney World. While it is not possible to independently confirm who signed the petition, it is presented as Disney employees.
SCHEDULE: NBA Launches List of 88 Games to End Regular Season
DON’T MISS THIS: 13 must-see games on the new NBA schedule
GUARANTEES: Silver insists that the restart plan is “safe and responsible”
“This virus is not gone, unfortunately it only got worse in this state”, says the petition. “Keeping our theme parks staying closed until cases are steadily decreasing would keep our guests, our employees and their families safe. The reopening of the theme parks is only putting our guests, employees and families at greater risk of hiring COVID-19. theme parks are a great way to relax and enjoy free time, it’s a non-essential business, it’s not fair for people who work there to risk their lives, especially if they’re at risk or have family members at risk People are more important than profit. “
Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger declined to comment, but she transmitted a statement that Dr. Pamela Hymel, medical director of Disney Parks, posted on June 18 on the company’s website. Hymel described the various protocols that Disney will adopt, including temperature checks for guests, greater cleaning and disinfection, social distance, necessary facial coverage and options for contactless payments. Hymel added: “As we prepare for the reopening of our destinations, this is a responsibility that we take very seriously.”
“I support people’s rights to express that point of view. We have members who have the opposite point of view and everything in between,” said Jeremy Haicken, president of UNITE HERE Local 737, the union representing workers at Walt Disney World Food & Beverage and housework. “The biggest issue is that Florida has a completely broken unemployment system, where workers face this option of starving or returning to work in a dangerous environment. About 30% of our members have not received a penny of unemployment in ten weeks. It is absolutely criminal that workers are being forced to choose between starving and returning to work in this environment “.
USA TODAY ‘Mark Medina Sports details the NBA bubble in Orlando. USA TODAY
However, union members emphasized that they negotiated several health protocols with Disney to ensure the safety of employees. The NBA quarantined website will not be open to the general public like Disney World. However, these measures offer a window into how Disney employees will handle the locations and hotels that the NBA will use.
“Disney is doing a great job,” said Eric Clinton, president of UNITE HERE Local 362, which oversees Disney World guardians and operators. “I have been a tough critic of them over the years, but I was impressed with how they responded. Disney will do it safely. They have a good plan and they are a sophisticated company. The NBA.”
How Disney will handle the bubble website safely
Health officials mainly offered praise for the NBA’s 113-page health and safety protocols, both for their preparation and for their depth. However, some health officials and those in NBA circles have wondered why Disney employees would not be subject to quarantine procedures, as NBA players, coaches and employees are needed.
“I don’t think any reasonable person would say this was a real possibility. You are talking about hundreds, perhaps thousands, of workers in these hotels who would never see their family for three months,” said Clinton. “It is a mixture of single-parent families, mixed families, mixed families, all with children. They are very diverse. They are immigrants and people of color. There is no way anyone would expect a housekeeper who makes $ 15 an hour not to see her. children for how long it will continue. “
Haicken said union officials plan to have more talks with Disney this week about how the unspecified number of employees will manage the NBA campus. But the NBA has already outlined several guidelines in its protocols on how Disney employees will operate in used hotels: the Gran Destino Tower in Coronado Springs, the Grand Floridian and the Yacht Club.
The NBA said that “under no circumstances may a Disney cast member personally deliver baggage to a player’s or team member’s room”. He said Disney employees will only clean a hotel room when players, coaches and employees are not present. Employees are expected to clean these rooms during training, game rounds and games.
SportsPulse: The NBA established its safety guidelines for teams when they enter the Disney bubble next month in 108 pages of documents. Jeff Zillgitt looked deeply for the most interesting and humorous guidelines. USA TODAY
There are some exceptions, such as if a member of the cleaning team needs to respond to an emergency. During these periods, Disney employees must wear a mask and gloves, keeping at least six feet. Disney will also assign the cleaning staff to a specific set of floors in each hotel. Clinton added that there will be specific cleaning staff dedicated to NBA personnel at the Grand Floridian, and a different set of employees dedicated to Timeshare customers.
In order to minimize the traffic of people, the cleaning staff will maintain the rooms once a week, but can increase the services upon request. As for public spaces, Clinton said that maids routinely clean the elevator, the lobby and the hand rails. Public toilets will also be closed every two hours for cleaning. NBA guidelines added that housekeepers will frequently clean, disinfect and sanitize high-touch surfaces (every two hours), medium-touch areas (every two to four hours) and low-touch areas (every eight hours or one once a day).
They will have other responsibilities as well. When teams begin quarantine between July 7 and 11, Disney employees arrange for the delivery of meals to be placed outside each person’s room. They will clean and disinfect the training and practice the equipment between uses after a team leaves the area. While the teams will be responsible for their own clothing, Disney employees will clean the hotel’s bedding. Disney will also offer restaurants with the same employees to eliminate employee turnover. Everyone should wear masks and gloves, keeping at least six feet.
Clinton said, “They will be programmed and trained so as not to interact with players as much as possible.”
Why Disney is not testing employees for COVID-19
The NBA will have daily tests for players, coaches and employees. Why won’t Disney do the same with its employees?
“We wanted it to be done regularly, but that was a huge expense for them,” said Clinton, who expressed uncertainty about the exact cost. “They thought that if you did a self-assessment at home and when you arrived at the workplace, it would be enough.”
What do these assessments involve?
Every day, Disney employees take their temperature at home. If they have a temperature above 100.4 degrees, they are required to call sick people to work. They will do another temperature check when they arrive at the Disney property to ensure they do not exceed 100.4 or they will have to return home. Employees must also report any symptoms, including coughing, difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. They will also have to report if they have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous 14 days. Employees will be sent home if they answer affirmatively to any of these questions.
So that employees don’t feel pressured to work with any illness, Disney will pay them for sick days. Disney will also pay all employees who have to protect themselves if diagnosed with COVID-19, regardless of their origin. But why don’t Disney and its unions feel overly concerned about the lack of testing?
“I think doing a test would be great. But the test alone does not guarantee that the disease will not be transmitted,” said Haiken. “Someone can get positive results a few days late and you’ve already spread the disease. Many people ask for tests with workers. It’s a very difficult setup, unless you test it somehow …