Disney Parks is 'carefully monitoring' coronavirus outbreak, chief medical officer says

The chief medical officer for Disney Parks has confirmed that officials are “carefully monitoring” the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, while Walt Disney World and Disneyland currently remain open for business.

Dr. Pamela Hymel, Chief Medical Officer for Disney Parks’ Experiences and Products, recently announced that theme park authorities are closely following the viral outbreak and remain in communication with health agencies as COVID-19 becomes a more “widespread concern.”

“As part of our commitment to the health and well-being of our cast, guests and the larger community, we are carefully monitoring the evolving coronavirus situation and are in regular contact with health agencies for information and guidance,” Hymel said in a statement shared by Disney Parks Blog. “Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, are welcoming guests as usual and we continue to implement preventive measures in line with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health agencies.”

Florida tourism officials say cases of the new coronavirus are having little visible impact on the state's biggest industry so far. Disney officials said in a statement that extra hand sanitizers were being placed throughout its four parks and more than two dozen hotels.

Florida tourism officials say cases of the new coronavirus are having little visible impact on the state's biggest industry so far. Disney officials said in a statement that extra hand sanitizers were being placed throughout its four parks and more than two dozen hotels. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

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Hymel also emphasized that Disney’s domestic and international theme parks are all committed to high standards of sanitation.

According to Disney, the theme parks’ typical standards for sanitation and cleaning include extensive training for employees; frequent cleaning and disinfection of targeted areas; immediate response to spills, trash, etc.; end-of-day standard sanitation for bathrooms, kitchens and other facilities; frequent cleaning of outdoor locations; plus easy access to handwashing and hand sanitizing.

In addition, onsite health teams and officials at various Disney properties will continue to keep cast members updated with the latest in illness prevention, per guidance from the CDC, Hymel said.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that face masks will be distributed to both patient and paramedic if a Disney visitor appears symptomatic or a first responder suspects they have the flu, said Tim Stromsnes, president of the local union for firefighters at Disney World.

Moving forward, extra hand sanitizers are also being placed throughout Disney World’s four parks and two dozen-plus hotels, officials said.

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On the opening day of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney's Hollywood Studios, roughly 1,000 people reportedly waited to enter the park.

On the opening day of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney's Hollywood Studios, roughly 1,000 people reportedly waited to enter the park. (iStock)

Florida's busy spring break season kicked off this month, amid reports that coronavirus fears do not seem to be impacting tourism to the iconic theme park.

Last week, on the opening day of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney's Hollywood Studios, roughly 1,000 people waited to enter the park, said Kurt Schmidt, the owner of Inside the Magic, a popular news site and online community for Disney fans.

Notably, Schmidt said that no one was wearing a mask, per the Associated Press.

The most visited tourist destination in the country, Orlando draws vast numbers to its major theme parks, which also include Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando. In 2018, the city attracted 75 million visitors.

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Last week, a spokesperson for Disney World confirmed that the theme park has amplified its "stringent" sanitation plans during the COVID-19 outbreak to keep visitors and employees safe.

As for Disney’s internationally branded parks, Hong Kong Disneyland has been temporarily closed until further notice. On Monday, Shanghai Disneyland reopened several restaurants and shops – though the theme park itself remains closed, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Tokyo Disney Resort is also closed, but is currently scheduled to reopen on March 16.

In France, Disneyland Paris remains open after a nighttime maintenance worker tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, according to French news outlets.

Two weeks ago, Walt Disney World asked a small number of workers who had recently been in Italy to stay home over coronavirus concerns, a spokesperson told Fox News.

Fox News’ Michael Bartiromo, Alexandra Deabler and the Associated Press contributed to this report.