COVID-19: Eight Reedy Creek Firefighters Quarantined
First responders must use sick, vacation time for COVID-19 precautions
I am not sure what is the actual “story” in this story. First, we have eight Reedy Creek (the station that services Walt Disney World) firefighters being quarantined because one of them has COVID-19. Then, all of them have to use earned sick and vacation time to stem the tide.
Tough Times In Reedy Creek
WESH 2 reported:
The firefighters’ union believes this is unfair.
“Clearly, for those people who came into to work that day they had no control that they were going to be exposed,” Ryan O’Neill said.
A federal law passed in March requires employers to offer paid COVID-19 leave outside of normal sick time.
But the law has some exemptions including for firefighters. That means Reedy Creek and other municipalities can choose not to give the extra leave time.
No Incentive To Be Upfront
WESH 2 added:
A reedy creek spokeswoman said they give generous benefits, and that for months now they’ve been paying 57 employees to stay home. There have been no furloughs, and the department’s call numbers have been down.
O’Neill says they worry that the district’s policy will have a chilling effect on firefighters, who do test positive.
“I know now that if I go to work and tell my boss I have exposed my entire crew, and now my entire crew is going to have to burn their own sick and vacation time, why would I tell my boss?” Firefighters’ Union Rep Ryan O’Neill
I mean, it makes sense?
But, again, just weeks before Walt Disney World is to open, eight firefighters are quarantined.
Beyond the sick and vacation time, that fact is probably the most relevant.
Florida Uptick In COVID-19 Cases
On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health reported 6,093 new cases of COVID-19 since approximately the same time the day before, as well as 58 new deaths and 226 new hospitalizations.
These new statistics bring the total number of coronavirus infections to 152,434 since the virus was first detected in the state on March 1, as well as a total of 3,505 deaths and 14,580 hospitalizations.
WFTV Channel 9 took to Twitter to share their thoughts on this developing story too.
— WFTV Channel 9 (@WFTV) July 1, 2020
Stay tuned, Mouseketeers.
Feature Image: ReedyCreek.org