Disneyland Closes Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Disney has temporarily closed theme park in California because of the coronavirus outbreak. The move to shutter its parks comes as the novel virus continues to rapidly spread across the country. Over the past week it has officially become a pandemic, with cases increasing in the U.S., Asia and across Europe.

Its only the fourth time in history that Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., has fully suspended operations. The other instances were Sept. 11 attacks, the morning after JFK’s assassination and the Northridge earthquake.

It’s unclear if Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., will remain open.

Disney said in a statement, “While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort, after carefully reviewing the guidelines of the Governor of California’s executive order and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure, beginning the morning of March 14 through the end of the month. The Hotels of Disneyland Resort will remain open until Monday, March 16 to give guests the ability to make necessary travel arrangements; Downtown Disney will remain open. We will monitor the ongoing situation and follow the advice and guidance of federal and state officials and health agencies. Disney will continue to pay cast members during this time.”

The company added, “Disneyland Resort will work with guests who wish to change or cancel their visits, and will provide refunds to those who have hotel bookings during this closure period.”

Closures seemed inevitable after Los Angeles Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday called for gatherings with more than 250 people to be canceled or delayed in an effort to halt the transmission of the virus. Officials are also encouraging “social distancing” of six feet per person.

Disney closed its parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong in January, and has also temporarily closed its parks in Japan as well. The Shanghai Disney Resort will reopen some shopping, dining and entertainment options on Monday, but the main theme park will remain shuttered. Disney reported that it could lose $280 million in revenues due to closures in Shanghai and Hong Kong alone.

Disney was slow to close doors to its theme parks, despite cancellations of major entertainment industry events like South by Southwest and Coachella. The NBA suspended its season Wednesday night after a player tested positive for coronavirus.

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