Universal Studios Hollywood extends closure through May 31

Universal Studios Hollywood is extending its closure another six weeks through the end of May as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the state.

The theme park and Universal CityWalk are both closed until at least May 31, officials said Thursday.

The theme park first announced it will close for two weeks in early march, planning to reopen on March 28. But as numbers of confirmed COVID-19 patients continued to climb, its officials extended the closure through mid-April before extending it a second time Thursday.

Universal Studios tickets purchased for visits during the closure period will be automatically extended for use through December 18, while annual or season passes already paid in full will be extended by the number of days the theme park is closed, Universal announced.

The company’s part-time hourly workers will be furloughed beginning May 3, Universal said in a news release.

The company said it will be paying its employees in full through April 19 but will start deducting 20% from nearly all paychecks after that date.

“All of these team members remain in our thoughts – and, while we don’t yet know when, we look forward to returning them to work one day,” Universal said in a statement.

As businesses closed and theme parks shut their doors in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, many Californians have been left without jobs or facing reduced hours and income.

California has processed about 2.3 million unemployment insurance claims in the past four weeks alone— an amount larger than the number of claims filed in all of 2019, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Last week, the California Employment Development Department processed 925,450 unemployment claims, a 2,418% increase from the same time last year.

The governor on Thursday announced that workers who are receiving unemployment benefits will start getting an extra $600 on top of their weekly amount starting Sunday.