ORLANDO, Fla. - Some workers at Walt Disney World have been told to stay home and not report to work after traveling to Italy because of coronavirus fears.
A spokesperson for Disney confirmed to FOX 35 News that a small number of Disney workers have been told to refrain from coming to work. Disney also confirmed that not all of the people told to stay home are Disney employees.
Disney did not provide the exact number of workers involved.
So far, there are no confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus among Disney cast members or at Walt Disney World.
According to the Associated Press, more than 200 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Italy, the largest number outside Asia.
As far as other theme parks in Central Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reports that spokespeople with SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Studios said they are in contact with health officials to ensure the safety of guests and employees.
“We are communicating with our team members and reinforcing our best-practice health and hygiene procedures. We are also educating them on basic preventive measures. We will continue to monitor the situation and be ready to act if needed,” Universal spokeswoman Alyson Lundell said in a statement to the Orlando Sentinel.
Theme park expert and Rollins College Professor Dr. Mark Johnston said Wednesday that he believes the preventative action by Disney likely won't be the last local theme parks have to take as the Coronavirus spreads worldwide.
"I think we're going to continue to see events unfold where the parks are going to be facing, here in the US, challenges around the Coronavirus," said Johnston. "This is just going to be a challenge for the theme parks."
Especially with Spring Break fast approaching, Johnston said the theme parks and other area tourist attractions will have to continue to act out of caution.
Although the long-time theme park expert said the parks tend to be working on these things long before the public ever hears about it.
"They are definitely prepared, as are all the theme parks prepared for events like this," he said.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday warned the American public to prepare for an outbreak of the disease, which has spawned more than 80,000 cases around the world but relatively few so far in the U.S. In the tweet, the CDC advised people to take the usual precautions to avoid spreading the virus, such as staying home when sick and washing hands with soap and water.
President Donald Trump said he'll discuss the coronavirus threat at a White House news conference Wednesday, a day after he sought to minimize fears of the virus spreading widely across the U.S.