TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Florida and California theme parks were scheduled to reopen Wednesday, but will remain closed until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement from the Walt Disney Company released Friday.
"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 from the company reads. "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. The Walt Disney Company has been paying its cast members since the closure of the parks, and in light of this ongoing and increasingly complex crisis, we have made the decision to extend paying hourly parks and resorts cast members through April 18."
The news comes after union leaders for both parks sent letters to the company which demanded an update as staff was becoming more and more anxious with uncertainty.
California is currently under a stay-at-home order, meaning all non-essential businesses must stay closed until the order is lifted.
In Orlando, the earliest Disney World would be have been allowed to reopen was 11 p.m. on April 9 under the Orange County stay-at-home order.
Both Disney parks closed their doors the weekend of March 14. Disney Paris also closed. Not long after, the parks' shopping districts and hotels also closed, along with all Disney stores in North America.
Universal Studios extended its parks reopen date to April 19 after 43-year-old Jeffrey Ghazarian, a California man who died of complications due to the coronavirus, reportedly visited the park, and Disney World only days before he became ill.
As of now, all Disney parks worldwide remain closed, including locations in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, and Shanghai. Shanghai Disney Resort partially resumed shopping, dining and other recreational operations, on March 9, though the main theme park remains closed.