Coronavirus Outbreak Leads Disney & Universal To Extend Japan Theme Park Closures
Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan join the growing list of theme park closures.
Update: As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, Disney and Universal have extended the closures of their theme parks in Japan. Universal Studios Japan will remain closed until at least March 22. Meanwhile, the doors to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea will remain closed until "early April." A new attraction opening at Tokyo Disneyland set for mid-April has not been postponed until at least May.
As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues, actions are being taken in an effort to prevent it from spreading. In late January, Disney announced it was closing its Chinese parks--Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland--indefinitely. Now, Disney has taken its efforts one step further, closing Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Additionally, Universal Studios Japan and Legoland Japan have also closed their doors temporarily.
At the moment, the Japanese parks are tentatively scheduled to stay closed until March 15, though that date could change depending on how the situation evolves. A date hasn't been announced for the parks in China to tentatively re-open.
What remains to be seen is what impact, if any, the closure will have on the construction of Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan. The new land is set to open this summer ahead of the Olympics in Tokyo. As it stands, there's been some discussion about what impact the outbreak could have on the Olympics, though no cancellation or postponement plans have been announced.
While most of the details about Super Nintendo World remain a mystery, it was recently revealed that guests will use wristbands that connect to a smartphone app, which collect digital coins during visits and help integrate visitors into the world of Nintendo--which looks a lot like Super Mario Bros.
In addition to theme park closures, several industries have been interrupted in an effort to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. Paramount temporarily halted production of Mission Impossible 7 in Italy, sending the crew home. Meanwhile, Electronic Arts, Kojima Productions, and PlayStation, among many other companies, had pulled out from the Game Developers Conference, before it was ultimately postponed. In a statement to GameSpot, EA explained, "Having closely followed the global situation with Coronavirus and with the recent escalation of cases in new regions, we have decided to take additional steps to protect the wellbeing of our employees including the restriction of all non-essential travel. As a result we are also cancelling our official participation at GDC and limiting attendance to other events. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will adjust guidelines to our employees as we feel is appropriate."
According to the World Health Organization, there are currently over 80,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with over 2,800 deaths.
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