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Coronavirus: Busch Gardens, SeaWorld parks to close as of Monday

All 12 theme parks owned by SeaWorld will close for the rest of March, starting on Monday.
Busch Gardens in Tampa is one of 12 theme parks owned by SeaWorld Entertainment that will be closed as of Monday for the rest of March because of coronavirus concerns. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
Busch Gardens in Tampa is one of 12 theme parks owned by SeaWorld Entertainment that will be closed as of Monday for the rest of March because of coronavirus concerns. [LUIS SANTANA | Tampa Bay Times]

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Joining a wave of shuttering theme parks and attractions, all of SeaWorld’s theme parks, including Busch Gardens and Adventure Island in Tampa, will close for the rest of March to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The closure won’t begin until Monday.

Similarly, Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando will close after the end of business on Sunday.

All 12 of SeaWorld’s parks throughout the U.S. will follow the same schedule. Essential personnel, including animal care experts, will continue to look after the health and nutritional needs of the animals in their care, the company said in a statement. “Our animal rescue and rehabilitation operations will also continue to operate.”

SeaWorld's 12 theme parks, including Busch Gardens and Adventure Island in Tampa, will be closed for the rest of the month, starting on Monday. [JOHN RAOUX | AP]

The company said it would continue to pay “our full-time Animal Ambassadors during this period,” but there is no word yet on its part-time workers.

SeaWorld Parks said any tickets or in-park experiences that are not able to be used during the park closures will be refunded. Guests will also be allowed to rebook through 2021 without fees. However, guests who booked travel with a third-party reseller must contact that company directly for assistance.

Adventure Island opened for the season this weekend and its new attraction, Solar Vortex, is slated to open to the public on Saturday. Now all the parks will close as of Monday morning, the company said.

Guests can get the latest information on park operations on the company’s website devoted to its coronavirus plans, or calling the customer care center at (407) 794-0017.

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Tampa Bay Times coronavirus guide

Q&A: The latest and all your questions answered.

EVENT CANCELLATIONS: Get the latest updates on events planned in the Tampa Bay area in the coming weeks.

PROTECT YOURSELF: Household cleaners can kill the virus on most surfaces, including your phone screen.

BE PREPARED: Guidelines for essentials to keep in your home should you have to stay inside.

STOCK UP YOUR PANTRY: Foods that should always be in your kitchen, for emergencies and everyday life.

FACE MASKS: They offer some protection, but studies debate their effectiveness.

WORKPLACE RISK: A list of five things employers could be doing to help curb the spread of the disease.

READER BEWARE: Look out for bad information as false claims are spreading online.

OTHER CORONAVIRUS WEBSITES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Florida Department of Health

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