The happiest place on earth is now caught in the crossfire of the contagion that is sweeping the Earth. Disney will close its doors for the rest of the month following an announcement on Thursday afternoon. The city of Anaheim has imposed a gathering ban on groups of 250 people or more over growing concerns that the Covid-19 virus may be sweeping the area in the coming days.
For Disney, which sees thousands of guests from around the world during every hour that it remains open, its closure could mean the difference between containing the spread of the disease around the world and seeing it grow even more out of control.
Although Disney will close, the decision did not likely come easily. Never in the history of the park’s existence have either U.S. resorts been shut down for more than a couple of days at a time—once during 9/11, and a couple of other times in Florida over safety concerns during hurricanes. The company has been hesitant to follow the lead of other major events around the country, but ultimately decided to close its doors beginning on Saturday.
In the meantime, park goers are greeted with an increase in hand washing stations and access to hand sanitizer throughout the park—more so than usual. Guests are being asked to stay home if they are experiencing any illness or symptoms of the virus in particular, and the park assures its attendees that measures are being taken to sanitize high traffic areas.
Disneyland is not the only business to shut its doors amid the coronavirus outbreak.
In New York, Broadway plays have been shut down around the city. An outbreak of the virus within the Utah Jazz NBA basketball team sparked more major closures and shutdowns in various entertainment industries around the country. Rudy Gobert, a center for the Utah Jazz, tested positive for the virus just before a game against Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.
The NBA immediately shut down operation for the rest of the season, shuttering an industry that employs thousands of people in nearly every state. On Broadway, officials have shut down operations on all theater productions in the area amid growing concerns for the health and safety of the performers, workers, and patrons.