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Disneyland, Universal Studios Closing Due To COVID-19

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Visitors attend Disneyland on Feb. 25, 2020 in Anaheim. (David McNew/Getty Images)
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It's time to cancel your visit to the Happiest Place On Earth, as well as its distinguished competition.

Disney announced Thursday afternoon that it was closing both its Southern California parks as of Saturday morning. Universal Studios followed with its own closure announcement. The decisions came despite California Gov. Gavin Newsom stating that an order banning large gatherings wouldn't apply to these theme parks.

Here's what Disney said about why they were taking the highly unusual step:

"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."

Disneyland's closure extends through the end of the month, as of this announcement, while Universal park officials said they plan to reopen March 28. Disney's hotels will stay open until Monday to help visitors make travel arrangements. Universal's CityWalk and the Downtown Disney shops will remain open at this time.
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This is the fourth time that Disneyland has shut down in its history. The others were after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, and after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The park remained open after Walt Disney's death.

Disneyland was previously linked with a large measles outbreak in 2014-2015, with 147 people ultimately infected. The outbreak was traced to a traveler who was infected overseas, then visited the park while infectious. Last year, there were concerns that a New Zealand teenager who visited the Disneyland and other Southern California locations may have infected others, followed in October with an L.A. County resident with the disease also visiting Disneyland.

Disney also notes that it will continue to pay its park staff during the closure. They have offered to work with visitors who want to change or cancel visits, but noted that they expect a lot of calls. The closure follows Disney's annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday, when they also released details on their Marvel-themed land set to open this summer.

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