ORLANDO, Fla. — Disney announced early Monday morning it's closing all stores and Walt Disney World Resort hotels over the coronavirus.
On Thursday, it was announced that Disney World would close through the end of March over the coronavirus outbreak.
These additional closures come after the CDC advised on Sunday that organizers should cancel large events of more than 50 people that are scheduled in the next eight weeks.
According to Disney, the new closures are:
- All Disney stores in North America starting March 17; guests can continue to shop online
- All owned and operated locations in Disney Springs beginning March 17
- Disney hotels at the Walt Disney World Resort beginning Friday, March 20 at 5 p.m.
- Disney's Vero Beach Resort beginning Friday, March 20 at 5 p.m.
According to Disney, individual tenants at Disney Springs will make decisions on whether to continue or adjust their operations.
Josh D'Amaro, the president of the Walt Disney World Resort released this state on Monday after the closure announcement.
It's an understatement to say that it has been an unusual few days at Walt Disney World Resort. Yesterday, we closed our theme parks through the end of the month to do our part to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus here in Central Florida. We will also close Disney Springs by the end of the day today while working on ramping down our hotels.
It's not like anything our community has faced before and our focus has been on the safety and well-being of our Guests, Cast Members and their families as well as our neighbors.
As I reflect on the events of the past several days, I feel tremendous gratitude. First, I'm grateful to our Cast Members for the way they rose to this challenge -- not only in preparing for this closure, but also in continuing to deliver unforgettable experiences for our Guests and each other. We look forward to making magic for Guests again soon.
I want to acknowledge our hardworking college, culinary and exchange program participants. We made the difficult decision to suspend these programs, based on guidance from leading health agencies as these participants live in dorm-like housing here at our Resort. We believe it's the right thing to do and is consistent with the way college and university programs are prioritizing social distancing. We are actively working with each individual to help them get home, including finding the right solution to each of their unique circumstances.
I'm also grateful to live in a community where our civic leaders are focused on protecting our fellow residents. I want to share how proud Walt Disney World is to be part of the Central Florida family. These are unique times, and we're all working through this together.
As you can imagine, closing our resort so quickly leaves us with a great deal of extra food. To help other Central Floridians in need during this time, Walt Disney World Resort will donate excess food inventory like fresh salads, greens and hot items to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. This donation is part of our ongoing Disney Harvest program, which collects and distributes enough food each year to provide one million meals to people in need, and this donation will help to further support the important work Second Harvest is doing in our community during this time.
Like all of you, we will continue to actively manage through this issue.
"May Walt Disney World bring joy and inspiration and new knowledge to all who come to this happy place..." That was our wish when we first opened in 1971, and that will be our wish when we open our parks again.
Stay safe and healthy. We'll see you soon.