Disneyland Paris halts shows, limits queues over coronavirus

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(Odd Andersen, AFP)
(Odd Andersen, AFP)

Disneyland Paris said that it had halted outdoor shows and shortened queues for its rides to comply with French government limits on mass gatherings to curtail the country's coronavirus outbreak.

The amusement park, which has some 15 million visitors each year, also said it was temporarily waiving fees for changing or cancelling reservations for its Disney hotels.

"We are in regular contact with the French authorities, and based on their direction, we have temporarily amended some experiences and operations through April 15th," the company said on its website.

"Queue line capacities have been adjusted to comply with the latest government requirements," it said, and fewer people will also be allowed into the park's restaurants and theatres.

The European tourism industry is bracing for a huge hit as businesses and individuals call off trips and governments alternatively urge people to stay home or impose travel restrictions.

Disneyland Paris - the biggest privately-owned tourist attraction in Europe - has about 16 000 workers - the largest number of people employed at a single site in France.

Three maintenance workers have tested positive for the new coronavirus, though they work night shifts and are not in contact with the public.

Disney has also shuttered its parks in Tokyo and Shanghai.

France has banned all gatherings of more than 1 000 people in a bid to limit the spread of the virus, which has infected nearly 2 300 people in France and killed 48.

Hundreds of schools have been closed and dozens of major conferences, sport matches and other events cancelled or postponed.

So far, the country has avoided more extensive lockdowns as in neighbouring Italy, although authorities have said the epidemic alert will likely be raised to its maximum of phase three in the coming days.

President Emmanuel Macron is due to give a televised address to the nation regarding the coronavirus on Thursday evening.

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