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Disney, Universal close theme parks in response to coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus

FILE- In this Jan. 31, 2017, file photo, cars travel one of the roads leading to Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Walt Disney World employees who portray Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck each filed police reports this month, Dec. 2019, claiming they were inappropriately touched by tourists. The woman inside the Mickey Mouse costume went to the hospital with neck injuries caused by a grandmother patting the character’s head, while the employees wearing the Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck costumes were groped by tourists, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Office reports.(AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

ORLANDO, Fla. (WPRI) ─ Disney theme parks will soon be among the emptiest places on earth.

Both Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida are set to close for the rest of the month in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Disneyland will shut its gates Saturday, as will Disney World on Monday.

The Disney Cruise Line is also suspending all new departures beginning Saturday through the end of March. The Walt Disney Company will pay its cast members during that closure period.

In a statement, the company said Disneyland Resort hotels will stay open through Monday so guests can make travel arrangements. The hotels at Disney World will remain open until further notice.

“We will monitor the ongoing situation and follow the advice and guidance of federal and state officials and health agencies,” the statement said.

Universal Studios theme parks in both Hollywood and Orlando are also temporarily shutting down.

Beginning Saturday, the Universal Studios theme park in Los Angeles will close until at least March 28. Universal Studios in Orlando plans to shutter for the rest of the month starting Monday.

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