Disney shutters California and Florida theme parks ‘until further notice’ over coronavirus pandemic

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The Walt Disney Company said Friday that both Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida will remain closed indefinitely due to the novel coronavirus.

“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,” Disney said in a statement.

“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 statement said.

Disney previously announced that both U.S. amusement parks and its Disneyland Paris Resort would be closed from March 14 through the end of the month because of the coronavirus, which has infected more than a half-million people around the globe and killed over 28,000, according to data maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest statement, Disney said it has continued to pay park employees during the pandemic and will continue to do so through the middle of next month.

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 statement said.

Disneyland in Anaheim employs around 75,000 people and Disney World in Orlando employs roughly 31,000, The New York Times reported earlier this month.

Union leaders representing workers employed at each of the parks sent letters to Disney earlier in the week pressing the company for details about its future plans for the pandemic.

Disney’s decision to indefinitely shutter both U.S. parks is an unprecedented move for the company, which has rarely closed either in the decades since they first opened.

The last time both Disney parks were simultaneously shuttered was following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, The Times reported previously.

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