The Anaheim, California-based theme park and adjoining Disney California Adventure will shut down on Saturday and remain closed until the end of March, Buzzfeed News reports.
A Disneyland Resort spokesperson issued a statement to the outlet:
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. The Hotels of Disneyland Resort will remain open until Monday, March 16 to give guests the ability to make necessary travel arrangements; Downtown Disney will remain open. We will monitor the ongoing situation and follow the advice and guidance of federal and state officials and health agencies. Disney will continue to pay cast members during this time.
Guests can contact Disneyland Resort in order to change or cancel their visits. Refunds will be given to people who have hotel bookings during this period.
Disneyland enthusiasts didn't react well to the news.
The decision was made on Thursday after California officials urged that gatherings of 250 or more people be postponed to prevent the virus from spreading, a method that’s being called "social distancing." However, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Disneyland wasn’t held to the same protocols because of “the complexity of their unique circumstances.” The governor shared that he had spoken with Bob Iger, executive chairman of the Walt Disney Company, about the situation.
The other three times that Disneyland has shuttered its doors was after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, the Northridge earthquake in 1994, and the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. In 2014, Disneyland became the source of a measles outbreak, which ended up infecting 159 people in 18 states and the District of Columbia.
Tokyo Disney Resort closed on Feb. 28 and will remain shuttered through March 15. Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort closed in January after the virus’ outbreak.
The pandemic has upset the operations of other major American institutions. The NHL has suspended games, the MLB has suspended opening day, the NBA has suspended its season, and the NCAA has canceled its 2020 tournament. In New York City, theaters on Broadway will be closed until the end of the month, and museums are shuttering as well.