As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to rise, more and more Americans have been ordered, urged, and asked by local leaders to stay home as much as possible to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile, schools and nonessential businesses have closed and the federal government has advised against gathering in groups of 10 or more for an extended period of time. In light of the government's latest guidance regarding social distancing, all Walt Disney theme parks followed suit earlier this month, but how long will Disney parks be closed due to the ongoing outbreak?
In a statement issued earlier in March, Walt Disney World said its theme parks and Disney owned-and-operated hotels are "closed through March 31." A temporary closure notice was also issued for Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California.
While both notices said the closures were "currently scheduled" to last through March 31, Disney noted that it would ultimately follow public officials' advice when it came to reopening. "We will continue to monitor the ongoing situation and follow the advice and guidance of federal and state officials and health agencies," the notice read.
Additionally, a travel alert for Disney Cruise Lines issued March 20 noted that all new departures had been suspended through April 12.
While Disney has yet to announce plans to extend its park closures, state-issued "stay at home" orders may complicate an April 1 reopening. In California, for example, home to both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide executive order directing residents to stay home unless working on one of 16 critical infrastructure sectors or in need of vital supplies or medical care. The order does not specify an end date, meaning Disney theme parks in California won't be able to reopen as currently scheduled unless Newsom lifts his executive order.
At least 16 other states have issued similar statewide orders directing residents to stay home unless absolutely necessary, according to the New York Times. For now, however, Florida, home to Walt Disney World Resort, is not one of them. In fact, according to the New York Times, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he has no plans to order residents to stay home due to the unknown risks confinement could have on mental health and domestic violence.
That being said, on March 15 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended events and gatherings of 50 or more people be postponed for at least eight weeks. That would place the CDC's earliest recommended opening date for theme parks like Disney's around May 10, more than a month after the reopening date Disney Parks currently has scheduled. Romper has reached out to Disney Parks for further information.
Of course, nothing can be considered confirmed until Disney releases an updated announcement regarding closures. In the meantime, there are many ways parents and caregivers can create a little bit of Disney magic at home by taking kids on virtual Disney Parks rides.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.