With cases increasing by the day in the United States, Disney has announced the closure of the Disneyland Resort in California.
It is unclear at this time whether Walt Disney World in Florida will remain open. Health officials in Florida announced today that seven fire fighters with the Disney-run Reedy Creek Fire Department at Walt Disney World are under self-quarantine. Six of those fire fighters recently attended a conference at which another attendee tested positive, and the seventh fire fighter recently returned from travel to an area affected by the virus.
Disney says there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland, but the Disneyland closing is necessary after an executive order from California Gov. Gavin Newsome.
On March 11, Newsome issued the order, which called for gatherings of 250 or more people to be cancelled or postponed, making the resort’s closure seemingly inevitable.
Disney says its two California theme parks – Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure will be closed beginning the morning of March 14 through at least the end of the month.
The resort hotels will remain open until Monday, March 16, to allow visitors more time to rearrange travel plans.
Disney stated it will continue to pay its cast members during the closure.
“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,” the company said in a statement.
This is only the fourth instance of Disneyland closing. The most recent closure was during the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. Disneyland Park was also closed following the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, and the morning after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Disney’s theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong were closed in January in response to the viral outbreak which has now been declared a global pandemic. Theme parks in Japan have also been temporarily closed.
Disney reported this week that some restaurants and shops in Shanghai will re-open on Monday, March 16, but the theme park there remains closed.
Disney also announced today that protective measures were being taken at Disneyland Paris, including the cancellation of parades and shows, and limitations on the numbers of guests who can be waiting in lines inside attractions.