It seems like forever now, but it has been less than two weeks since every major theme park in the United States closed due to the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. And though most theme parks were hoping to reopen by the beginning of April, it looks like the evolving health situation has made it so that another round of closures will be necessary for theme parks in the United States, and Universal has wasted no time extending its closures.
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort has announced that it will keep its theme parks, hotels, and CityWalk closed through April 19 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like Walt Disney World originally, the resort said it would be closed through the end of March, so this is a pretty large closure extension for the resort.
Universal has confirmed that Team Members who are classified as “nonexempt and hourly full-time and part-time” will continue to get paid from April 1 to April 19 based on their average weekly hours from the four weeks before the parks closed. Those who receive salaries will be paid their normal rates.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Much like Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood has also announced that it will keep its theme park and CityWalk closed through April 19 as well, while continuing to pay employees as well.
Right now, Universal is the only theme park resort that has firmly announced a closure extension, but we expect Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando and others which are currently scheduled to remain closed through the end of March to announce closure extentions through mid-April at least.
This seems even more likely as Orange County has issued a stay at home order that kicks off Thursday night, and will be in effect for at least two weeks, if not longer, and since SeaWorld (and part of Walt Disney World) lie within this county, there is no way that they could feasibly operate any time in the next two weeks. We'll update this story as we learn more about these closures.