Some of San Diego’s biggest attractions – including SeaWorld San Diego – will temporarily close to the public amid the new coronavirus pandemic that has now reached San Diego County.
SeaWorld posted the update on Twitter Friday morning, saying it would temporarily close all of its theme parks "out of an abundance of caution," which includes the attraction near San Diego's Mission Bay.
The parks will be closed beginning March 16, through the end of March.
On Thursday evening, SeaWorld San Diego released a statement to NBC 7 saying the amusement park had canceled its scheduled shows, which typically draw large crowds seated side-by-side on benches.
“We will continue to monitor the situation for changes, collaborate with health officials and take the necessary steps to address the health and safety needs of guests, ambassadors and animals,” said SeaWorld spokesperson Kelly Terry.
Meanwhile, Legoland said Thursday it would postpone the grand opening of “The LEGO Movie World,” as well as all previously-scheduled media activities.
On Friday afternoon, Legoland California Resort spokesperson Jake Gonzales confirmed the park would close beginning Saturday, through March 31. The Legoland Hotel will remain open.
Later on Friday, the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park will close to visitors from March 16 through March 31.
San Diego Zoo Global CEO Paul A. Baribault posted a letter on the zoo’s website Thursday also addressing concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on the operations at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.
“The current health concerns are creating challenges for all of us, and I wanted to reach out to all of you personally, and let you know we recognize the gravity of the evolving situation and are working to do our part to protect the health and welfare of our community and the wildlife in our care,” the note read, in part.
The USS Midway Museum along San Diego's waterfront also announced plans to temporarily close as a precaution to the coronavirus crisis.
The USS Midway Museum said it is also canceling all special events, school visits, and outreach activities, for now.
As for Balboa Park in the heart of the city, the museums there were operating as normal Friday.
The letter said both parks are always equipped with handwashing stations but during this time of heightened concern, they would increase practices of handwashing, sanitizing and “social distancing” – which requires 6 feet of space between people in the same room or area.
The letter said the situation is fluid and could change to include closures of the parks at any moment, depending on how the coronavirus situation unfolds in San Diego.
As of Friday morning, there were seven cases of presumptive positive COVID-19 in San Diego County. Public health officials said at least one of the cases is evidence of likely "community spread" of the virus in San Diego County.
Meanwhile, California Governor Gavin Newsom said this week that all gatherings of 250 people or more should be canceled or postponed across the state. San Diego leaders Thursday said those events with 250 people or more would be banned across the county through at least the end of March.
The San Diego Unified School District and dozens of other school districts across the county said Friday they would close down schools beginning Monday.