Disney Parks & Universal Studios shut down operations

Disney has closed all of its theme parks “in an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our guests and employees."

(Photo by Richard Harbaugh/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Disney has closed all of its theme parks “in an abundance of caution and in the best interest of their guests and employees.”

On Friday, the city of Los Angeles halted city events and closed down City Hall. Governor Gavin Newsom would suggest groups of more than 250 not gather but did not specifically ask for theme parks to close, Deadline reports.

“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 Disney spokesperson said on Thursday.

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During the closure, The Walt Disney Company will pay its cast members and hotels, retail and dining facilities at Walt Disney World and Disneyland while employees at domestic Disney companies, in addition to The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Direct-to-Consumer, and Parks, Experiences and Products are being requested to work from home.

The event cancellations are expected to be a big blow to the Southern California economy. Disneyland attracts more than 18.6 million people a year, or roughly 1.5 million people a month, according to the Themed Entertainment Association, an organization that follows theme parks. Universal Studios Hollywood brings in 9.1 million visitors, or about 700,000 people a month.

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Per the California Dept. of Public Health on Wednesday, the new guidance is as follows through the month of March:

The California Department of Public Health finds the following:
  • Large gatherings that include 250 people or more should be postponed or canceled.
    • This includes gatherings such as concerts, conferences, and professional, college, and school sporting events.
  • Smaller gatherings held in venues that do not allow social distancing of six feet per person should be postponed or canceled.
    • This includes gatherings in crowded auditoriums, rooms or other venues.
  • Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people.
    • This includes gatherings such as those at retirement facilities, assisted living facilities, developmental homes, and support groups for people with health conditions.
  • A “gathering” is any event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, or any other indoor or outdoor space.
This applies to all non-essential professional, social, and community gatherings regardless of their sponsor.