UPDATE: Disneyland and Walt Disney World will no longer reopen next Wednesday, as was originally planned. 

Instead, the Walt Disney Co. announced Friday, both theme parks will remain closed indefinitely.

“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,” a statement read. “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.”

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 The “Happiest Place on Earth” is closing its doors to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Disney announced Thursday that its Anaheim, Calif. attractions, the Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, would temporarily cease operations starting Saturday, March. 14. 

The statement read, “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 Park, 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.”

Disney also confirmed it would issue refunds to those with hotel bookings throughout the closure period.

Earlier today, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order calling for public gatherings of more than 250 people to be canceled or postponed through the end of the month. Newsom initially stated that the mandate did not apply to Disneyland or Universal Studios Hollywood because “of the complexity of their unique circumstances.”

Universal Studios Hollywood has also since followed suit, announcing in a statement, “The health and safety of our team members and guests is always our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution and in response to the guidance provided by the California Department of Public Health, Universal Studios Hollywood will temporarily close beginning Saturday, March 14. The theme park anticipates reopening on March 28 as we continue to monitor the situation.”

Prior to the unprecedented closure, Disneyland said they had “added additional hand sanitizers throughout the park, increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection in high guest contact areas, and are providing information about good hygiene practices and illness prevention to our guests and cast members.”

Disneyland has only ever closed three times in its 65-year history: the national day of mourning following John F. Kennedy‘s assassination, after the 1994 Northridge earthquake and on 9/11. 

(This story was originally published on Thursday, March 12, 2020 at 1:49 p.m. PST)

Watch NBC News Special Report: Coronavirus Pandemic Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on NBC, MSNBC and NBC News NOW. For the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic and for tips on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit The Center for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov.

source: eonline.com

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