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Disney World and Disneyland are closing amid coronavirus pandemic

Disney is closing its parks in California, Florida and Paris, and is suspending its cruise line due to the coronavirus pandemic. While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at these parks or on the ships, officials announced on Thursday that the parks and cruises will be close close this weekend until the end of the month. 

In a statement Thursday afternoon, Disney said there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. But the company announced plans to close Disneyland Park and Disney California adventure beginning the morning of March 14 through the end of the month as a precautionary measure. 

A few hours later, Disney announced that the theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, and the Disneyland Paris Resort will close beginning at the close of business on March 15. Disney Cruise Line will suspend all new departures beginning March 14. 

Officials said that Disney's three hotels at Disneyland — the Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier and the Grand Californian — will remain open until Monday, March 16 to give current guests enough time to make travel arrangements. The hotels at Walt  Disney World and Disneyland Paris will stay open until further notice. The retail and dining complexes at all locations will remain open.

"We will monitor the ongoing situation and follow the advice and guidance of federal and state officials and health agencies," the company said. "Disney will continue to pay cast members at this time." 

Domestic employees of the Walt Disney Company who are able to work from home will be asked to do so, the company said in a statement. The company said it is working with guests to change and cancel upcoming visits and will provide refunds on hotel bookings during the closure period.  

The decision to close the park in California came after Governor Gavin Newsom banned all gatherings of more than 250 people across California to prevent the spread of the virus, which has now infected more than 127,000 people worldwide and killed at least 4,718. However, Newsom specified during a press conference that the ban would not apply to Disney parks or casinos, card rooms or theaters due to their "unique circumstance." 

"Late last night, California put out a new policy on mass gatherings and engaged in deep conversations with Disney and other companies about how to meet it," Newsom said in a statement following news of the closures. "Using that policy, Disney made the right call in the interest of public health and agreed to shut down their California parks. Expect more announcements like this shortly."

According to The New York Times, Disneyland in California has only closed two other times in history: in 1963 following the assassination of President Kennedy and in 2001 after the September 11 attacks. Disney World, according to the New York Times, has only closed due to hurricanes and September 11 terrorist attacks.

Walt Disney's Shanghai Disney Resort in China, Hong Kong Disney and Tokyo Disney have all closed due to the virus. 

An earlier version of this story said Disneyland closed during the 1994 earthquake. Disneyland has only closed twice aside from weather-related issues: in 1963 and 2001.  

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