Disneyland and Walt Disney World have both been closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Walt Disney Company made the announcement on Friday, following Universal Studios' decision to extend both of its resorts' closures. Disney said it will continue paying employees through April 18.
"While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the impacts of COVID-19, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees remains the Walt Disney Company's top priority," a Disney spokesperson said. "As a result of this unprecedented pandemic and in line with direction provided by health experts and government officials, Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort will remain closed until further notice. The Walt Disney Company has been paying its cast members since the closure of the parks, and in light of this ongoing and increasingly complex crisis, we have made the decision to extend paying hourly parks and resorts cast members through April 18."
The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California has been closed since Saturday, March 15, with Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida closing the following day. Disney initially hoped to have the parks closed through the end of the month. However, with the number of coronavrius cases climbing every hour in the U.S., that seemed more and more unlikely.
On Tuesday, Universal Studios announced both Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood will remain closed through April 19. Like Disney, they also had hoped to be open by April 1.
"We are extending the closure of Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood through April 19 as we continue to respond to current conditions and make the health and safety of team members and guests our top priority," Universal said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "This includes our theme parks and Universal CityWalk at both destinations. The Universal Orlando Resort hotels have also temporarily suspended operations. We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed, based on guidance from health agencies and government officials."
The decisions came after it was reported that Jeffrey Ghazarian, a 34-year-old California man who died from complications of COVID-19, visited both Universal Orlando and Disney World before his death.
"We offer our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Ghazarian," a Disney spokesperson said. "We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and remain in regular contact with health agencies for information and guidance."
The number of coronavirus cases passed 100,000 in the U.S. on Friday. More than 1,400 deaths have been reported, including 366 deaths in New York City alone, reports Johns Hopkins University.
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