The Queen Mary will temporarily suspend its operations until the state lifts its stay-at-home order to prevent the spread to coronavirus, the ship’s operator Urban Commons said in a statement Thursday.
While some smaller retail businesses will reopen this week, large attractions like the Queen Mary, which operators said draws roughly 100,000 visitors a month, are expected to remain closed for the foreseeable future.
“We do not take this decision lightly, but with no clear timeframe for the Stay-at-Home order to end, we have had to analyze the best decision for our properties, and the Queen Mary must temporarily suspend operations,” Taylor Woods, principal at Urban Commons, said in a statement.
The ship has been closed to visitors since March but was exploring possibly housing the military personnel and first responders to aid in the pandemic and maintain operations. But with lower-than-expected hospitalization rates, the effort hasn’t been necessary.
“We hope to use this time to continue historic preservation projects aboard the Queen Mary,” Woods said. “As the ship will be closed to the public, we have a unique opportunity to both inspect and restore the Queen Mary without needing to consider operating hours.”
Urban Commons signed a 66-year lease to operate the city-owned Queen Mary in 2016. The company has said it has made significant repairs to the ship and is in the process of a “robust” 30-year plan to “preserve and improve” the vessel after significant structural and safety problems were discovered.
The city in 2016 issued $23 million in bonds for emergency repairs to the Queen Mary, and under the leaser agreement, Urban Commons was to invest revenue from Carnival Cruise Line passenger fees and other income sources, including the many music festivals held near the ship, to fix other critical problems.
Some of that revenue has now been lost as Carnival has halted cruises at all of its terminals and musics festivals are on hold.
Woods in his statement said the company is planning an “exciting line-up” of events for next year.