The Disneyland Resort will close from March 14 through the end of month due to the outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus.
The decision comes just hours after California Gov. Gavin Newsom had explicitly exempted theme parks like Disneyland from his executive order asking for gatherings of 250 or more people to be postponed or canceled to counter the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“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,” Disney said in a statement released to Twitter.
Disneyland Resort’s three hotels will remain open until Monday, March 16. The Downtown Disney shopping and dining district will remain open.
Addressing one of the major concerns of a potential closure, Disney said it will continue to pay its employees while the parks are shut down.
“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,” Disney said. “We anticipate heavy call volume over the next several days and appreciate guests’ patience as we work hard to respond to all inquiries.”
This is the first time the Disneyland Resort will be completely closed since after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Canceling large gatherings of people is part of a strategy to “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 outbreak. Now past the point of containment, slowing down the spread of the virus may prevent the health care system from becoming inundated with patients.
Such closures will have a major financial impact on Central Florida’s tourism industry, however. As reported by The Orlando Sentinel Thursday, more than 15 conferences scheduled to be held in Orlando have been either postponed or canceled — representing $200 million in economic impact.
Editor’s Note: Following the publication of the original version of the article, Disney World announced it would be closing its theme parks from March 16 through the end of the month.