$5B American Dream to shut through the month

Decision follows that of other malls to close to prevent spread of the virus

American Dream Mall (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
American Dream Mall (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

The long-delayed, $5 billion American Dream Mall is temporarily shutting just months after its grand opening because of the coronavirus.

The mall and entertainment center, located in East Rutherford, N.J., partially opened in the fall after over a decade of delays. The closures are slated to begin after the weekend and run through March, though the mall said there have not been any cases of the coronavirus, according to a note posted on the mall’s website from its chief executives.

“After carefully reviewing the guidelines of public health agencies and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we have made the difficult, but responsible, decision to close American Dream, beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Don and Mark Ghermezian, co-chief executive officers of Triple Five Group, the mall’s owner.

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The DreamWorks Water Park was scheduled to open March 19. That also has been postponed, but American Dream did not provide a new opening date.

New Jersey’s Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency earlier this week and prohibited gatherings of 500 people or more.

The news of the mall’s temporary shuttering comes as New York City’s museums have closed to prevent community spread of the illness and sports leagues have ended seasons prematurely. Schools across the country are also asking students to stay home, and employers are having employees work remotely.

New Jersey has 50 cases of the coronavirus, which causes the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, and New York state has more than 400. Globally, there have been 132,000 cases and 5,000 deaths reported.