LOS ANGELES, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Disneyland and Universal Studios, two of the most visited tourist attractions in Southern California, the United States, will be temporarily closed beginning on Saturday amid coronavirus fears.
The Walt Disney Co. said Thursday afternoon that Disneyland and neighboring Disney California Adventure Park, both located in Anaheim, Orange County, will shut down on Saturday morning through the end of this month.
"While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort, after carefully reviewing the guidelines of the Governor of California's executive order and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, beginning the morning of March 14 through the end of the month," said Disney in a statement.
"The Hotels of Disneyland Resort will remain open until Monday, March 16 to give guests the ability to make necessary travel arrangements; Downtown Disney will remain open. We will monitor the ongoing situation and follow the advice and guidance of federal and state officials and health agencies," it added.
It's the first time Disneyland has closed since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The other two shutdowns of Disneyland took place after U.S. President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963 and the 1994 Northridge earthquake which resulted in at least 57 deaths.
Also on Thursday afternoon, Universal Studios Hollywood said that it will be closing for two weeks.
"The health and safety of our team members and guests is always our top priority," said Universal Studios Hollywood in a statement.
"Out of an abundance of caution and in response to the guidance provided by the California Department of Public Health, Universal Studios Hollywood will temporarily close beginning Saturday, March 14. The theme park anticipates reopening on March 28 as we continue to monitor the situation," it said.
The closure of the theme parks came after California governor Gavin Newsom called for the cancellation of gatherings of 250 or more people through the end of March, marking the first time he has applied so-called social distancing practices to the entire state of California.
"Each of us has extraordinary power to slow the spread of this disease," Newsom said in a statement.
"Not holding that concert or community event can have cascading effects -- saving dozens of lives and preserving critical health care resources that your family may need a month from now. The people in our lives who are most at risk -- seniors and those with underlying health conditions -- are depending on all of us to make the right choice," he said.
Major events such as Electronic Entertainment Expo 2020 and Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival have been postponed or canceled in Southern California, while popular spots including the Los Angeles Zoo, the Getty Center and Getty Villa are being closed. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Opera also confirmed Thursday that they are canceling performances over COVID-19 fears.
A total of 198 cases and four deaths have been reported in California to date, according to the California Department of Public Health.