Walt Disney World, Disneyland to remain closed indefinitely amid COVID-19 pandemic

ANI Washington DC, USA Mar 28, 2020, 06.32 PM(IST)

Shanghai Disneyland shut Photograph:( AFP )

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The California and Florida parks that were set to reopen next Wednesday will now remain closed until further notice

Disneyland and Walt Disney World will remain closed indefinitely. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the California and Florida parks that were set to reopen next Wednesday will now remain closed until further notice, the Walt Disney Co. said on Friday.

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According to The news agency, a statement from the company reads, "While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the impacts of COVID-19, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees remain The Walt Disney Company's top priority. 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."

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The company added that it "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."

This news came soon after the union leaders for both the parks sent letters to the Walt Disney Co., that demanded an update as the staff was becoming more and more anxious with uncertainty.

Universal Studios extended its parks reopen date to April 19. Also in related news, SeaWorld Entertainment on Friday said during a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the company has temporarily furloughed more than 90 per cent of its current employees as of April 1 due to its parks being closed.

The filing reads, "The furloughed employees will not receive compensation from the Company during the furlough period after March 31, 2020; however, subject to local regulations, these employees will be eligible for unemployment benefits. The furlough period is uncertain at this time due to the temporary park closures and will be reassessed as business conditions dictate."

Currently, California is under a stay-at-home order, meaning all nonessential businesses must stay closed until the order is lifted. It is not clear when that will happen.

The earliest Disney World would have been allowed to reopen in Orlando was 11 p.m. on April 9 under the Orange County stay-at-home order.

On the weekend of March 14, both the Disney parks closed their doors. Disney Paris also closed. The parks shopping districts and hotels along with all Disney stores in North America also closed soon after.

The date pushback announcement came from the Universal Studios, nearly a week after Jeffrey Ghazarian, a 34-year-old California man who died of complications due to the coronavirus, reportedly visited the Florida park (along with Disney World) days before he became ill.

On March 19, Alyson Lundell, spokeswoman for Universal Orlando, told The Hollywood Reporter, "Our thoughts are with this gentleman and his family. As is always the case, we will take our guidance from local health officials."

"We offer our deepest condolences to the family of Mr Ghazarian. We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and remain in regular contact with health agencies for information and guidance," stated a Disney spokesperson at the time.