Universal Studios is extending the closures of its theme parks in Orlando and greater Los Angeles through “at least” May 31 of this year, given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The company also intends to furlough part-time hourly workers starting May 3, and cut staff pay to 80% of their normal wages.
Universal Studios issued the following statement online.
“We know Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted many parts of your life – including your travel and vacation plans and we will be eager to welcome you back to our theme parks and destinations when the time comes. For now, we must make the health and safety of our guests and team members our top priority and we will continue to take guidance from health agencies and government officials.
This means we are extending the closure of Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood through at least May 31. This includes our theme parks and Universal CityWalk at both destinations. The Universal Orlando Resort hotels have also temporarily suspended operations through this time period.
We have created flexible programs for guests who have purchased tickets with us.”
Furthermore, the parks will be paying its employees through April 19, after which “nearly all” staff will be paid at 80% salary, “and we will ask them to adjust their work accordingly,” Universal Studios told Variety in a separate statement. “A small group of team members will be asked to continue working at 100 percent and will continue to be paid at that level. We have also made the difficult decision that we will furlough our part-time hourly workers beginning May 3. During this time, we will fully cover the cost of benefit plans for those team members who have them.”
Disneyland and Walt Disney World remain indefinitely closed, after shuttering in mid-March to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The U.S. Disney and Universal Studios parks had decided several weeks ago, in quick succession, to close through the end of March, shortly after California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom issued guidance for the state to postpone or cancel gatherings of 250 people or more. But as the date neared, the Walt Disney Co. pushed back that re-opening date until further notice. Disney Cruise Line has suspended all new departures through April 28.
As of now, all Disney parks worldwide remain closed, including its locations in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, and Shanghai. Shanghai Disney Resort partially resumed shopping, dining and other recreational operations on March 9, though the main theme park continues to be closed.