LOS ANGELES - If you were wondering how long the coronavirus outbreak will keep the Disneyland and the Walt Disney World resorts closed, you'll have to keep wondering.
After closing in mid-March with the promise to reopen by the end of the month, Disney announced Friday that both parks would remained closed until further notice.
The Walt Disney Co. said it has been paying its employees since the parks closed and "in light of this ongoing and increasingly complex crisis, we have made the decision to extend paying hourly parks and resort cast members through April 18."
The announcement is not surprising considering that California Gov. Gavin Newsom has recommended that all gatherings over 250 people be canceled. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that residents should be prepared to stay at home until May.
In Anaheim home of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park, the city posted a message on its website, urging residents to "stay at home as much as possible."
Universal Studios Hollywood and the Universal Orlando Resort also closed March 14 but announced earlier this week that they would remain closed until April 19 because of the coronavirus outbreak. Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia and Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park also remained closed.
For people who have annual passes to the Disneyland resort, the park said in an online posting that the annual passes will be extended based on how long the parks will be closed. Annual pass holders who are making monthly payments, however, must continue to make payments as usual.
To shore up the hard-hit media giant that had also pulled high-profile movies releases and suspended cruise ship sailings, the Walt Disney Co. said last week that it had raised nearly $6 billion in a debt offering.
Disney, in its regulatory filings, said it planned to use proceeds from the sale for "general corporate purposes," including restructuring existing debt, making acquisitions, buying back shares or investing in its various business units.
The impact of the closing of the Disneyland Resort could be steep for hotels, shops and tour companies in Anaheim.
A study released last year by California State University, Fullerton's Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting estimated that the resort generates $8.5 billion in economic activity each year for the Southern California economy and is responsible for 78,000 jobs, mostly in Orange County.
The resort also generates $510 million in state and local taxes, with nearly $162 million going to the city of Anaheim, according to the study.
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