Walt Disney Co. has confirmed that Disneyland will close on Saturday, amid growing concerns due to the coronavirus pandemic. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that Disney and other theme parks would not be forced to close—despite state officials’ call to cancel gatherings of 250 people or more. Hours later, following backlash on social media, Disney made its announcement. “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, beginning the morning of March 14 through the end of the month,” Disney said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
Disneyland Resort hotels, the statement added, will remain open until Monday to allow guests to adjust their travel. Downtown Disney will remain open, as will Orlando’s Walt Disney World. Perhaps most importantly, Disney will continue to pay cast members during the park’s closure. Disney parks in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo have already closed. And in another release from Newsom Thursday, Variety notes, Newsom hinted there could be more closures. “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,” he said. “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.”