The decision was made “in the best interest of our guests and employees,” the company said in a statement after California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued an executive order in response to the public health crisis. Newsom removed the waiting period for unemployment and disability benefits for state residents who lose work as a result of the outbreak, and he gave the state the power to commandeer hotels and other facilities for patient treatment.
The closure of the company’s flagship theme park follows similar declarations from other tourist attractions and commercial offices across the US, as well as the cancellation of major events, including music festivals and sports events.
“Disneyland Resort will work with guests who wish to change or cancel their visits, and will provide refunds to those who have hotel bookings during this closure period,” the company said in the statement, which also asked for customers’ “patience” due to the number of calls expected.
While the park will close Saturday, the hotels at Disneyland will remain open through Monday to allow guests extra time to change their travel plans.
Disney noted that there have been no reported cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, at the park.
Meanwhile, Disney World in Orlando, Florida, will remain open. The site employs more than 75,000 people, making it the largest single-site employer in the United States.
With nearly 30,000 employees, Disneyland is the largest employer in Orange County and generates more than $5 billion for the southern California economy, according to Disney. Over 157 million people reportedly visited a Disney theme park in 2018.
More than 125,000 people worldwide have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus that originated in China. Over 4,500 people have been killed globally.
At least 140 people in Australia have tested positive while three people have died after contracting COVID-19.
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