The health crisis that is the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic became very real for some people when The Walt Disney Company announced that both Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts would shut down for the rest of the month of March as precautions against the virus' spread. Though an April 1 date had been set previously as when they would re-open to the public, Disney has since announced that they'll be extending the closure of the parks until further notice. In their statement on the closure they also confirmed they will continue paying their employees through the 18th of April.
"While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the impacts of COVID-19, the saffety and well-being of our guests and employees remains The Walt Disney Company's top priority," Disney Parks 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 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."
Even if Disney had decided it would open its Disney World parks in Florida or the Disneyland Resort in California starting at the beginning of April there are other factors at play that would have prevented them from doing so. Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer previously handed down a "stay at home" mandate in an attempt to combat the rapidly-expanding coronavirus pandemic which goes through at least April 9th and would prohibit large gatherings. Furthermore a ‘safer-at-home’ order was previously set for Los Angeles set to last until April 19, with the entire state of California under a similar mandate from Governor Gavin Newsom that is in place “until further notice.”
Prior to closing for the coronavirus pandemic, both Disneyland had only closed a handful of times prior including a day of mourning following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Both Disneyland and Disney World have been closed previously due to natural disasters like the Northridge Earthquake in 1994 and various hurricaines, but this marks the first extended closure of both parks ever.
Disney's main competition in the movie theme park game, Universal Studios, previously announced an extension of their park closures with both its Orlando and Hollywood locations set to remain closed until at least April 19th.
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