Disney is closing Disneyland and California Adventure, its theme parks in Anaheim, California, because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“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 Disneyland Resort said in a statement.
Though the park will close Saturday, hotels at Disneyland Resort will remain open until Monday, March 16, “to give guests the ability to make necessary travel arrangements,” the statement said.
“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 statement said.
The announcement added that it would work with guests who wish to change or cancel their visits and it will provide refunds during this closure period.
The closure of Disney (DIS)land follows the company shuttering some of its parks overseas because of the virus. Disney (DIS)’s theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong, for example, were closed earlier this year due to the outbreak.
Disney closing Disneyland is no small act.
In fact, the park has only closed a few times since its opening in 1955. The park has closed for the national day of mourning following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the terror attacks of September 11.
The closure comes as cases of the novel coronavirus rack up around the world, rattling major industries – notably travel and tourism – battering financial markets and prompting major US sporting leagues to suspend their seasons.
“Disneyland being closed is a pretty powerful symbol that not all is well in the United States right now,” said Robert Niles, editor of ThemeParkInsider.com. “Disney is America’s escape. Without Disneyland open, that drives home the message that there is no escaping the coronavirus.”