• An 18-year-old man was cited for trespassing after breaking into a closed Disyney amusement park late Sunday
  • Authorities found Jeremiah Smith in a construction area in the southeast section of California Adventure
  • The park has been closed as per an executive order by California governor Gavin Newsom to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Authorities arrested an 18-year-old man after he allegedly broke into a closed Disney amusement park in California late Sunday (April 19).

Despite the park being closed due to the state's ongoing battle against COVID-19, Jeremiah Smith managed to sneak in the famed landmark. He was seen jumping over a gate leading to the back lot of California Adventure, said ABC 7, citing a statement from the Anaheim Police Department.

Authorities found Smith, a transient resident of Anaheim, at around 11:00 p.m. in a construction area in the southeast section of the park, near the Guardians of the Galaxy ride, according to FOX News.

Police claim that Smith's illegal entry came with the intention to steal equipment from the construction site.

Disney is closing its giant theme parks in Florida, California and Paris over the coronavirus Disney is closing its giant theme parks in Florida, California and Paris over the coronavirus Photo: AFP / BERTRAND GUAY

Smith was released shortly after his arrest. He was cited for trespassing and was given a court appearance ticket. An Anaheim Police Department public information officer told People that Smith could face a short jail sentence or a small fine. A warrant will be issued should he fail to appear before the court on the specified date.

California Adventure's closure came in line with the executive order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom last month that, among others, directs Californians to cancel large gatherings of more than 250 people “until at least the end of March.”

The order follows public health directives to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if organizers can implement social distancing measures of 6 feet per person, said the executive order.

During the announcement of the new state policy, Newsom said that each California resident has an “extraordinary power to slow the spread” of COVID-19. The temporary halt on hosting large gatherings such as concerts and community events could save lives and preserve “critical health care resources.”

“The people in our lives who are most at risk – seniors and those with underlying health conditions – are depending on all of us to make the right choice,” said the governor.

Both Disneyland and California Adventure are supposed to re-open their gates to the public at the end of March, but park administration decided to cancel the reopening “until further notice” to protect the safety of their guests and employees, as well as respecting the mandate of health experts and government officials.

“The Walt Disney Company has been paying its cast members since the closure of the parks, and in light of this ongoing and increasingly complex crisis, we have made the decision to extend paying hourly parks and resorts casts members through April 18,” Disney Parks said in a March 28 tweet.