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Disney executive 'sobered’ by coronavirus fears, reassures shareholders

At the company’s annual shareholders meeting, a prime topic of concern was the effort to contain the coronavirus.

The Walt Disney Co. executive chairman Bob Iger on Wednesday sought to reassure investors about the effect of the spreading coronavirus outbreak on the company and its worldwide operations.

Wednesday’s gathering in Raleigh, N.C., for its annual shareholders meeting began on a subdued note as former chief executive Bob Iger addressed growing concerns about the effort to contain the coronavirus, which has closed theme parks abroad and rattled global markets.

“It’s fair to say we’re all sobered by the concern that we feel for everyone affected by this global crisis,” Iger said. “These are challenging times for everyone.”

He noted that the company has survived crises, including wars, economic downturns and natural disasters, during its nearly 100-year history.

“We are incredibly resilient,” Iger said. "Our future has always been bright and it remains so for good reason,” Iger added.

Disney's North American theme parks remain open even as Disney parks in other parts of the world have closed.

. We are incredibly resilient. Our future has always been bright and it remains so for good reason,” Iger added.

During the Q&A portion of the meeting, Iger and newly installed CEO Bob Chapek addressed measures taken to protect Disney guests at its theme parks, which already include frequent cleaning and disinfection of targeted areas, access to handwashing facilities and hand sanitizers, and end-of-day sanitation procedures for restroom, kitchen and other facilities.

As of Wednesday, both Disneyland and Walt Disney World were fully operating during normal business hours. It was unclear if coronavirus concerns, which prompted many to stockpile supplies and food, have affected attendance.