Arlington, VA

The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City closed last night and is expected to remain closed until at least the end of the month.

Mall owner Simon Property Group announced yesterday that it would close all of its U.S. shopping centers, including the Pentagon City mall, which has one of the company’s busiest and most profitable food courts.

More from the announcement:

After extensive discussions with federal, state and local officials and in recognition of the need to address the spread of COVID-19, Simon will close all of its retail properties, including Malls, Premium Outlets and Mills in the U.S. This measure will take effect from 7 pm local time on March 18 and will end on March 29*.

“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,” said David Simon, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Simon.

Even before the closure, the coronavirus outbreak kept most people away from the usually-busy mall. And department store anchors Macy’s and Nordstrom both closed nationwide on Tuesday.

https://twitter.com/steezyysosa/status/1239714857399857154

A day before the closure, an employee of one of the mall’s stores told ARLnow that he was worried about the risk of disease from keeping the mall open.

“I am writing to you from my store now (I am required to be open while the mall is open) and there are about 30-40 people sitting in the food court eating. Coming in and shopping. Raising the risk of spreading COVID-19,” the employee wrote. “We as employees are calling out for help as we are constantly at risk of exposure. Our complaints to management go unnoticed. They have limited business hours, but that has only concentrated the amount of people in the mall to a shorter time.”

Ballston Quarter mall, meanwhile, remains open, though as of earlier this week customers were few and far between. The mall said stores and restaurants were free to close if deemed necessary.

“We are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to provide updates via our website,” the mall said on its website. “Effective Monday, March 16, the shopping center will operate between noon and 7 p.m. every day except for Sunday, when the hours are noon to 6 p.m.”

“We recognize that, in light of concerns surrounding the coronavirus, retailers and merchants may implement their own corporate policies regarding modified hours or temporary store closures,” Ballston Quarter said. “Please make sure to check the restaurant or store hours prior to visiting.”

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