February 29, 2020: Tokyo Disneyland is closed
Due to concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus, Tokyo Disneyland executed a temporary closure.
“Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea have decided to proceed with an extraordinary closure from Saturday February 29, 2020, through Sunday March 15” said a statement from Oriental Land. (Oriental Land is licensed by Walt Disney Co. to operate the entertainment complex)
The decision to close followed this statement by the Japanese government,
“In view of large-scale transmission risks, we have decided to request [organizers] to cancel, postpone or hold sport and cultural events nationwide on a smaller scale than planned for the next two weeks nationwide,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.
For reference, the longest closure to date of both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea was 34 and 47 days respectively, following the 2011 Tohoku tsunami and earthquake. Even if the parks opened by the projected date, this record would end up being surpassed.
February 26, 2020: The Center for Disease Control confirms that local transmission of COVID-19 has occurred in the US
In plain language, this meant Coronavirus was now spreading from person-to-person across America, rather than the virus simply being imported by foreign travelers.
February 26, 2020: Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo requests country to postpone or cancel any large gatherings
As a preventative measure to COVID-19, this was initially meant as a two week measure.
February 25, 2020: It is announced that the 2020 Olympic games may be cancelled
Scheduled to begin July 24 in Tokyo, top Olympic officials suggest the games could be canceled, with the decision to be made by the end of May 2020.
February 23, 2020: Italy cancels a number of high-profile events
February 11, 2020: The disease caused by the Novel Coronavirus is officially named “COVID-19”
The abbreviation stood for Coronavirus disease 2019, which was slightly confusing because the virus itself is named SARS-CoV-2.
January 31, 2020: Disney Cruise Line implements precautionary measures to protect passengers and crew from the Novel Coronavirus threat (COVID-19)
DCL sends emails to each guest, instructing them to call if any member of their stateroom had traveled to mainland China within the past 14 days.
Also in the email, DCL shares, “Disney Cruise Line employs rigorous sanitation standards and consistently receives among the highest scores on public health inspections.
We also have a comprehensive plan that outlines protocols for managing this type of situation and closely follow the guidance of public health officials.” At the terminal, guests are provided with a new Heath Questionnaire with questions specific to recent travel to China as well as close contact to anyone suspected or with Novel Coronavirus.
January 30, 2020: A ‘public health emergency of international concern’ is declared by the WHO.
The WHO issues recommendations to ensure a “measured and evidence-based response” and to prevent the spread of the virus.
January 26, 2020: Hong Kong Disneyland is closed
Hong Kong Disneyland followed Shanghai’s example and is closed as a precautionary measure.
In a statement on Hong Kong Disneyland’s website they said: As a precautionary measure in line with prevention efforts taking place across Hong Kong, we are temporarily closing Hong Kong Disneyland Park out of consideration for the health and safety of our Guests and Cast Members.
We are in close contact with health authorities and the government about the situation and will announce a reopening date once they determine it is advisable.
The theme park resort’s three hotels — Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, Disney Explorers Lodge and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel will remain open.
Disney will be providing refunds to guests who have booked tickets to the park or rooms at the resort hotels.
January 25, 2020: The Shanghai Disney Resort is closed
The Coronavirus outbreak began in China at the beginning of 2020, and the Shanghai Disney Resort was the first Disney park to close its doors.
The Coronavirus is now reported to have killed 26 people in mainland China. Chinese leaders are closing public gathering places and limiting travel in an attempt to stop the virus’ spread.
“In response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and Cast, Shanghai Disney Resort is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown including Walt Disney Grand Theatre and Wishing Star Park, starting January 25, 2020,” the company said on its website.
This closes the park during the seven-day Lunar New Year holiday, China’s biggest holiday season.
Disney said guests who purchased tickets or booked hotel rooms would receive refunds.
“Shanghai Disneyland Resort will assist in the refund for guests who have purchased tickets for admission to Shanghai Disneyland, have booked a resort hotel, or have booked tickets for ‘Beauty and the Beast Mandarin Production’ through the original ticket purchase channel” the resort said in a statement.
January 23, 2020: China begins lock-down
A number of mainland cities are closed to outsiders including Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
January 26, 2020: Japan reports it’s first case of COVID-19
Coronavirus was diagnosed in a man who had recently visited Wuhan.
January 13, 2020: The WHO reports the first COVID-19 case outside of China
Coronavirus was detected in a woman who traveled from Wuhan to Thailand.