Disney World will begin providing onsite coronavirus testing for cast members and their families this week, ending a nearly two-month dispute with a union that represents stage actors at the park.
According to Kate Shindle, president of the Actors’ Equity Association, the union has signed a memorandum of understanding with Disney for hundreds of actors to return to work.
“We have been consistent that testing is an important part of ensuring a safe workplace for Equity performers, and today, I’m pleased to see that Disney World has agreed,” Shindle said in a statement Wednesday.
The Actors Equity Association represents 51,000 stage performers nationwide, including about 750 at Disney World.
The testing center will be located at the Disney Maingate Complex in Kissimmee, Florida, and will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The tests will be self-administered by people in their vehicles, and results will take three to five days. Testing is by appointment and available to Disney cast members, operating participant employees and their family members.
USA TODAY reached out to Disney World for more information about the testing site.
The union began pushing Disney World to offer testing for its members in late June, before the park’s July reopening. The actors could not do their jobs wearing masks or keeping social distance, the union said.
Shindle cited the death of Broadway actor Nick Cordero last month as an example of the devastating impact of the virus. Cordero, 41, had been hospitalized since March, had one leg amputated because of blood clots and battled infection in both lungs before his death.
Coronavirus can leave survivors with lung damage.
“This is not a disease to be taken lightly,” Shindle told USA TODAY. “It can have a long-term effect on making your living as a performer, even if you are lucky enough to survive.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Disney World to now provide onsite COVID-19 testing for cast members