Disney Extends Closures For Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Says It Will Pay Workers Through Mid-April

The initial announcement said the parks would be closed through the end of March.

Walt Disney World celebrates its 45th anniversary.
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The initial announcement said the parks would be closed through the end of March.

Disney has announced that it will extend closures at its two major parks in the U.S. at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, and Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. According to Deadline, both parks will now be closed indefinitely in response to the novel coronavirus. The company also said that it would extend paying hourly parks and resorts cast members through April 18.

The company previously closed both parks on March 14 in response to the virus. At that time, the company announced that the closures would go through the end of March. Disney’s resort in Paris was also part of that initial closure announcement.

“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,” the company said in a statement.

Disney also said that it was taking advice from health experts in order to determine next steps.

“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 continued.

There was no reference in the statement as to what would happen to park workers if the park does not open after April 18.

The news of Disney’s extended closures comes just days after NBCUniversal reached a similar decision with regard to Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort. According to Deadline, NBCUniversal did not close its parks indefinitely. Instead, the company announced its intention to reopen its parks on April 19.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed, based on guidance from health agencies and government officials,” NBCUniversal said in a statement.

Disney’s announcement extending its park closures follows the news that Jeffrey Ghazarian, a California resident who had recently visited Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, had died due to complications from the coronavirus.

Ghazarian was just 34 years old, and visited the theme parks in early March. After returning to California, he developed a cough that quickly escalated into more severe symptoms. After he tested positive for the virus, Ghazarian was eventually admitted to an ICU. Ghazarian died on March 19, and was reportedly in the high-risk category for the virus because of his asthma, and the fact that he had chronic bronchitis growing up.

Ghazarian’s sister put out a statement following his death, saying that he put up a good fight, and would be missed dearly.