Walt Disney World won't be opening on April 1st as previously planned. Tuesday evening, Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer handed down a "stay at home" mandate in an attempt to combat the rapidly-expanding coronavirus pandemic. Following in the steps of major metro areas like New York City and Los Angeles, those in Orlando will only be able to go outdoors for essential reasons such as getting groceries, going to the doctor, or exercising outside. The order, which begins this Thursday and goes through April 9th, means that Walt Disney World likely wouldn't be able to open on April 1st as the House of Mouse previously stated.
Due to Disney World's massive size, the parks area of the amusement park is located in Orange County and will fall under the order. The resorts, however, are located in Osceola County, a locale which has yet to hand down a shelter-in-place order. Orlando Weekly suggests Osceola County could make that call as soon as Wednesday after Orange County's rapid response.
BREAKING: @OCFLMayor signs executive stay-at-home order for all of Orange County effective 11 p.m. Thursday, March 26. Will run through at least April 9.— Justin Warmoth (@News6Justin) March 24, 2020
In a press conference Tuesday night, Dyer and Orange County mayor Jerry Demings revealed the order will go into place March 26 at 11:00 p.m. local time. Under the order, residents of Orlando County can go to the grocery store and pharmacy, go to medical appointments, get takeout from a local restaurant, care for a family member or loved one, or exercise outside.
The same residents cannot attend work unless part of the essential services protected by the order; they also can't visit friends or family if there is no urgent need. Per Orange County Sheriff John Mina, those found violating the order could receive $50 citations or receives up to 50 days in jail.
In the initial statement released by Disney, the company shared intentions of reopening at the end of March. ComicBook.com has reached out to the company in regard to their impending plans, but a statement wasn't available as of press time. Disney's initial statement from earlier this month can be found in its entirety below.1comments
"In an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we proceeding with the closure of our theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and DIsneyland Paris Resort, beginning at the close of business on Sunday, March 15, through the end of the month. Disney Cruise Line will suspend all new departures beginning Saturday, March 14, through the end of the month. The Walt Disney Company will pay its cast members during that closure period. The hotels at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris will remain open until further notice. The retail and dining complexes, Disney Springs at Walt Disney World and Disney Village at Disneyland Paris, will remain open. Domestic Walt Disney Company employees who are able to work from home are being asked to do so, including those at The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Direct-to-Consumer, and Parks, Experiences, and Products. We will continue to stay in close contact with appropriate officials and health experts."
Cover photo by Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images