SeaWorld Entertainment will temporarily close all of its theme parks effective Monday through the end of March to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The parent of SeaWorld San Diego announced the pending park closures Friday and posted the statement in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The shutdown follows Disney’s announcement that it will close Disneyland and California Adventure in Anaheim beginning Saturday and lasting through the end of the month.
“During this time, essential personnel, including animal care experts, will continue to look after the health, safety and nutritional needs of the animals in our care,” the company said in a statement. “Our animal rescue and rehabilitation operations also will continue to operate.”
SeaWorld said it will continue to pay full-time staff during the shutdown. “We are monitoring this evolving COVID-19 closely and coordinating with public health officials,” the company said.
For now, Legoland and the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park remain open. Both have taken steps to discourage crowds within their parks, including canceling shows.
“It’s a daily discussion,” said San Diego Zoo/Safari Park spokeswoman Christina Simmons. “We are open today with social distancing practices in place including not having shows in our large amphitheaters and spacing apart family groups on bus and tram tours.”
Freeman writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune