Universal Studios Theme Parks Extend Closure Another 3 Weeks Over Coronavirus Concerns
Universal Studios Hollywood in California and Universal Orlando Resort have announced that they will be extending their closure period as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread throughout the U.S.
Both parks plan to tentatively reopen on April 19, instead of March 28. They note they will to continue to monitor the situation and work with health agencies and government officials. The decision was shared on each park’s Twitter and on the park websites.
PEOPLE first reported the news that the parks would be closing on Thursday, March 12. Universal Studios Hollywood temporarily shut down on March 14. At that time, Universal CityWalk planned to remain open. It has since closed.
Universal Orlando Resort closed at the end of the business day on Sunday, March 15, and originally planned to reopen at the end of March, according to a statement acquired by PEOPLE. At that time, Universal’s Orlando hotels and Universal CityWalk planned to remain open. Both have since closed.
The announcement that the Universal parks would close came shortly after similar statements from Disneyland and Walt Disney World, which have also shut their gates. The theme parks are part of a large number of tourist attractions to close both in the U.S. and abroad due to the pandemic.
On March 11, the office of California Governor Gavin Newsom released a statement detailing recommendations from state health officials that gatherings of 250 people or more be canceled or postponed statewide in order to quell the spread of the deadly virus.
Florida’s governor had already declared a state of emergency at the time of their initial announcements in order to redirect funds to fight coronavirus and deploy National Guard troops if necessary. President Trump has now declared a national state of emergency.
Before deciding to close their parks, Disney and Universal both told PEOPLE that they were taking extra precautions to protect guests, including stringent sanitation policies and placement of additional hand sanitizing stations.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the best prevention methods against COVID-19 are basic forms of hygiene — careful handwashing, avoiding touching the face, moving away from people who are coughing or sneezing and staying home at signs of illness.
As of Wednesday morning, March 25, there are at least 53,852 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States and 728 deaths.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.