Universal Studios is closing its doors temporarily in both Hollywood and Orlando due to growing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. The theme parks were expecting high amounts of traffic in the coming weeks due to many schools letting out for spring break. While the timing is inopportune for many travelers, the company is taking what it calls an abundance of caution.

Universal Studios Hollywood is set to close beginning on Saturday, March 14, while Universal Studios Orlando will shut down on Sunday, March 15. This comes after Disneyland also closed its doors temporarily for only the fourth time in the park's history. Universal had this to say about the closure in a statement.

"The health and safety of our team members and guests is always our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution and in response to the guidance provided by the California Department of Public Health, Universal Studios Hollywood will temporarily close beginning Saturday, March 14. The theme park anticipates reopening on March 28 as we continue to monitor the situation."

Universal CityWalk will remain open in both California and Florida during the park closure. Universal Orlando's hotels will also remain open during this time. As for those who had trips scheduled during this time, Universal is allowing guests to reschedule. However, an update shared by the Universal Orlando Twitter account explains that the closure has led to a flood of people trying to reschedule, which has clogged up phone lines.

"We know many of you are urgently trying to adjust your travel plans due to the situation with COVID-19. Because of this situation, we are experiencing unusually high call volumes at this time. We are truly sorry for the inconvenience this has caused and we are working hard to provide a higher level of service to assist all of our guests."

Public health has become the main concern, but the effects the spread of COVID-19 is having on the entertainment business cannot be overstated. Hundreds of millions in box office has been lost, as theaters in China have been closed for weeks, with other theaters around the world following suit. A growing fear that theaters will begin to close in the U.S. as well has led to delays with several major releases, such as No Time to Die, A Quiet Place: Part II, F9, Mulan and The New Mutants. It's expected other major releases will follow suit.

Since emerging in China two months ago, more than 140,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported worldwide, with the death toll climbing past 5,000. It is expected that President Trump will declare a national state of emergency today. Those who have questions regarding tickets for Universal Studios can call 866-258-6546. This news comes to us directly from Universal Studios.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott