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Area Theme Parks Keep Eye On Coronavirus Outbreak As Spring Break Nears

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — For many students in Southern California, the beginning of March means one thing — spring break is coming.

But as the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow — 16 confirmed in Los Angeles County as of Monday evening — area parks have increased their sanitation efforts in an attempt to prevent further spread of the illness.

"As part of our commitment to the health and well-being of our cast, guests and the larger community, we are carefully monitoring the evolving coronavirus situation and are in regular contact with health agencies for information and guidance," Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Disney Parks, said in a statement. "Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, are welcoming guests as usual and we continue to implement preventive measures in line with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health agencies."

Hymel said the parks have health and safety protocols in place that involve regular training for cast members, defined cycles for frequent cleaning and easy access to handwashing facilities and hand sanitizing stations.

Additionally, Hymel said the onsite health teams and leaders have talked with employees about CDC recommendations for preventing the spread of illness, such as staying home when sick, washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and to avoid touching their faces with unwashed hands.

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But Disneyland is not the only park taking such precautions.

Universal Studios Hollywood issued a statement specifically about the recent coronavirus outbreak, saying that the park is still welcoming guests as usual and has been in regular communication with health officials and their own health experts about the situation.

"We are enhancing our already aggressive cleaning protocols – and applying stringent guidelines for cleaning all areas of our destination and CityWalk," the statement said. "This includes our rides and attractions, our restaurants and dining areas, our merchandise locations and more."

Universal said it has also increased the number of hand sanitizer stations within the park.

And, in a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Six Flags Magic Mountain said it too had increased its sanitation efforts.

"We have added more anti-bacterial soap and alcohol-based hand sanitizers," the park said. "We are ensuring guest and employee access to these preventive enhancements throughout all areas of the park, especially in restrooms, food locations and employee break areas. We are also encouraging guests and employees to practice good hygiene with frequent and rigorous hand-washing."

While health officials have recommended social distancing as a way to further prevent the spread of coronavirus, experts said being out in public was fine for healthy individuals as long as they took the same precautions the parks recommend — washing their hands frequently and vigorously, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and avoid touching their faces.

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