Mall of America closes until 'at least' March 31 amid COVID-19 outbreak

BLOOMINGTON, MN - OCTOBER 14: North entrance to Mall Of America in Bloomington, Minnesota on October 14, 2018. (Raymond Boyd/Getty Images / Getty Images)

The Mall of America will close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials announced Tuesday.

According to a release, the mall will close temporarily at 5 p.m. March 17 through at least March 31.

"Our top priority at Mall of America is protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of our tenants, guests, and team members. That is why Mall of America will close temporarily on March 17 at 5 p.m. through at least March 31.
The shopping and entertainment our tenants provide is an important part of the fabric of this community. Mall of America brings people together, and it will continue to do so once we are past this current situation. But that ability to attract people is precisely why we made the decision to temporarily close our doors. 

We must act responsibly and do our part to help slow the spread of this disease (COVID-19) that is impacting the world.
We respect Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’ leadership and decision to further enhance community mitigation to stop people from gathering and potentially spreading the disease. Complying with Governor Walz’ order is the right thing to do for the state, for our tenants, guests, and our team members. 
These are unprecedented times that require unprecedented actions. We are confident we will get through these challenging times, and look forward to reopening our doors to the Minnesota community and the world."

In the statement, officials cited Governor Tim Walz' decision to declare a peacetime emergency. Earlier this week, Walz also made the decision to close all K-12 schools. The governor also ordered bars and restaurants to stop dine-in operations. Places like gyms, theaters and museums are also closed.

There are currently about 60 COVID-19 cases in Minnesota in at least 12 counties.