The Miller Hill Mall in Duluth closed its doors at 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to parent company Simon Property Group, but not all the shopping center's tenants will follow suit. A number of mall restaurants will continue to offer takeout service, and at least one retailer with its own entrance, Barnes & Noble, says it will continue to do business, at least for the near term.
Simon, an Indianapolis-based operator of shopping centers, said it would close all of its malls nationwide "after extensive discussions with federal, state and local officials and in recognition of the need to address the spread of COVID-19."
"The health and safety of our shoppers, retailers and employees is of paramount importance and we are taking this step to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities," David Simon, chairman, CEO and president of the company, said in a statement.
The closure will continue through at least March 29.
J.C. Penney also announced Wednesday that it would close all its stores and business offices until April 2. Simon Property's announcement came just one day after the Mall of America in Bloomington closed its doors.
For now, Barnes and Noble plans to continue to operate from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Anka Termuhlen, a shift manager at Noodles and Co., said the restaurant plans to offer takeout orders and deliveries through DoorDash and Uber Eats.
"I've been here five years, and I've never seen anything like this. It's a little bizarre," she said. "I hope this just lasts a couple weeks, and then we can go back to normal."
Dylan Janssen, general manager of Chipotle Mexican Grill, said he plans to remain open but will offer no dine-in service and will try to restrict traffic to no more than five people waiting at the counter at the same time.
William Hammond, a shift lead at Five Guys, said: "We're going to try our best to stay open, so we can serve the community and keep the good food coming out."
Five Guys, too, will not offer dine-in service, but Hammond said, "People still want to come out and get a meal," especially at a time when many conventional sit-down restaurants have been placed on the sidelines due to Gov. Walz's emergency order Monday.
This story was updated at 6:51 p.m. (March 18) with additional information about the mall and J.C. Penney. It was originally posted at 3:58 p.m.
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