2ND UPDATE, 5:23 PM: Disney said tonight that it also will close its Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Paris Resort “in an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our guests and employees.”
Here is the company’s latest statement spurred by concerns over the spread of the coronavirus:
In an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of our theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Paris Resort, beginning at the close of business on Sunday, March 15, through the end of the month.
Disney Cruise Line will suspend all new departures beginning Saturday, March 14, through the end of the month.
The Walt Disney Company will pay its cast members during that closure period.
The hotels at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris will remain open until further notice. The retail and dining complexes, Disney Springs at Walt Disney World and Disney Village at Disneyland Paris, will remain open.
Domestic Walt Disney Company employees who are able to work from home are being asked to do so, including those at The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Direct-to-Consumer, and Parks, Experiences and Products.
We will continue to stay in close contact with appropriate officials and health experts.
UPDATE; 1:27 PM: The Walt Disney Company is shutting down its Anaheim theme parks on Saturday as the coronavirus spreads.
“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,” a spokesperson for the company said Thursday.
No word yet on Florida’s Disney World, but Hong Kong Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland remain shut down over COVID-19. The Shanghai Disney Resort partially reopened earlier this week as new cases of coronavirus in China were reported to be on the decline.
“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,” the Disneyland Resort rep added Thursday of the California attraction. “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 noted.
“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. Please contact The Walt Disney Travel Company for questions and cancellations at 714-520-5050.”
PREVIOUSLY, 1:14 PM: The city of Los Angeles is putting the brakes on gatherings of more than 50 people on civic property and closing the doors of City Hall to the public over concerns from the coronavirus. At the same time, theme parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios are still open for business, says California Governor Gavin Newsom – though maybe not for long.
Citing “unique circumstances,” Newsom said that the theme parks will not be asked to close soon, even though the Governor himself just yesterday advised that Californians not gather in groups of more that 250 because of COVID-19. “I assure you, we are moving quickly and effectively toward a resolution in those spaces, said the Governor today, making a point of declaring that `I had a conversation with Bob Iger yesterday.”
In the city that Disneyland built, Anaheim officials have made the move to shutter large scale events at the Anaheim Convention Center until the end of the month. The forthcoming WonderCon has been postponed from its scheduled April 10-12 dates.
With increased hand sanitizers in its California and Florida parks, Disney insists that it has “increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection in high guest contact areas, and are providing information about good hygiene practices and illness prevention to our guests and cast members.”
As more and more of Hollywood starts closing down at least temporarily, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti asserted Thursday that the city is on the case, as much as they can be.
“I know this is an anxious time for a lot of people, but Angelenos should stay focused on preparation and protection, not panic,” Garcetti said after a meeting of city officials today. “We will continue doing everything we can to help guide people through this situation and working closely with our local, state and federal partners to keep our communities safe, aware and informed,” the Mayor added as number of city closures and restrictions were made public.
Among those efforts, as COVID-19 test still lag nationwide, the City of Angeles plans to shut City Hall itself from members of the public except for City Council meetings and hit pause on “all non-essential public community events or group activities with 50 or more participants, or that require close contact between vulnerable individuals.” Additionally, L.A. is moving to “limit entry for visitors in public buildings to no more than 50 at a time.”
Of note to those flying into the Southland to visit the likes of Disneyland or Universal, LAX is exempt from those restrictions. City museums, libraries, parks, pools, and community centers, are not.
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