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On Thursday afternoon, The Walt Disney Company announced that Disneyland would be closed, issuing this statement:
As a result of the growing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Disneyland Resort, including Disneyland and Disney California Adventure is closing to guests on Friday, effective immediately.
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 interests of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of Disneyland Park and 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 guidelines of federal and state officials and health agencies. Disney will continue to pay cast members during this time.
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. We anticipate heavy call volume over the next several days and appreciate guests’ patience as we wrok hard to respond to all inquiries.
Variety noted, “It’s 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.”
Variety added, “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.”
Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California public health officials this evening issued an updated policy on gatherings to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19. The state’s public health experts have determined that gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness for COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while also following social distancing guidelines.
Newsom added, “Changing our actions for a short period of time will save the life of one or more people you know.That’s the choice before us. Each of us has extraordinary power to slow the spread of this disease. Not holding that concert or community event can have cascading effects — saving dozens of lives and preserving critical health care resources that your family may need a month from now. The people in our lives who are most at risk — seniors and those with underlying health conditions — are depending on all of us to make the right choice.”