Chicago-area malls and stores shut down by COVID-19

Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 7:17 PM CDT
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Simon Properties is closing four malls Wednesday night. They include Woodfield, Orland Square Mall, Chicago Premium Outlets and Gurnee Mills.

Restaurants were open at the food court in Woodfield Mall, but no seats. That’s in the practice of social distancing. Some retailers stayed open, but not without concerns over the virus’ spread.

“It’s such a contact type of business,” said one mall worker. Many anxiously waited on the mall to make the closing call. “It’s like a ghost town. It really probably just needs to close,” she said.

By Wednesday afternoon, the call was made. The nation’s largest mall owner, Simon Properties announcing it will temporarily shut down its U.S. locations. That includes Woodfield Mall, Orland Square Mall, Chicago Premium Outlets and Gurnee Mills. In all, affecting approximately 800 stores and restaurants.

The decision coming after “extensive discussions” with federal state and local officials. Simon President and CEO David Simon said the health and safety of retailers shoppers and employees “is of paramount importance.”

The malls closed at 7 p.m. and will stay closed through March 29.