Busch Gardens, Adventure Island and SeaWorld closing to prevent spread of COVID-19

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SeaWorld Parks announced Friday it will follow the cancellation steps of other theme parks and shut down Busch Gardens, Adventure Island and SeaWorld to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The message comes the day after Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World announced their own closures.

The closure will begin Monday, March 16 and last through the end of the month. All of SeaWorld's parks throughout the US will follow the same schedule.

RELATED: Closings and cancellations in Tampa Bay area due to coronavirus

"During this time essential personnel, including animal care experts, will continue to look after the health, safety and nutritional needs of the animals in our care," the company said in a statement. "Our animal rescue and rehabilitation operations will also continue to operate."

SeaWorld Parks said any tickets or in-park experiences that are not able to be used during the park closures will be refunded. However, guests who booked travel with a third-party reseller must contact that company directly for assistance.

READ: Nationwide coronavirus cancellations: These major events, concerts called off amid COVID-19 outbreak

Adventure Island, which is typically closed during the cooler-Florida months, has its open season between March and October. Friday was its official opening day for 2020 and its newest waterslide, 'Solar Vortex,' was slated to open to the public on Saturday, March 14 -- but that will have to wait. Passholders were able to preview the new ride Friday.

If you feel sick

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Questions may also be emailed to covid-19@flhealth.gov. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know