- The American Dream megamall in New Jersey is shutting down entirely due to the coronavirus.
- It will go dark through at least the end of March.
- This also means a round of retail shops and a water park will not open to the public, as planned, this month.
The American Dream megamall in New Jersey, which has an indoor amusement park and ski slope, is shutting down entirely due to the coronavirus, co-CEOs Don and Mark Ghermezian announced Friday.
This also means they will be pushing back the long-awaited opening of retail shops, including Zara and H&M, and the world's first DreamWorks Animation Water Park, which were both set to take place next Thursday.
The sections of American Dream that are already operating will close this Monday, March 16.
The Ghermezians said that while there have not been any cases of COVID-19 reported at American Dream, they hope to curb the spread of the virus by shuttering the property through at least the end of March. They said the company will provide a new opening date in the future, in addition to a date for the retail shops and water park to open to the public.
Meantime, a number of opening events planned for next week were canceled, a spokesperson for the development said earlier Friday.
"American Dream's opening events, including the VIP event, scheduled between March 18 [to] March 22, 2020 are being postponed in consideration of the public safety and health of our community, which is our top priority," the person said.
The coronavirus has dealt another blow to this multibillion-dollar project, which has seen multiple owners. Ground was broken in 2004. It has since been opening in phases, after many setbacks. Its current owners are Triple Five Group, a private company that operates the Mall of America.
A Nickelodeon theme park and an NHL-regulation-size ice skating rink were among the first to open at American Dream last fall. And an indoor snow park for skiers and snowboarders opened in the winter.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a growing list of event cancellations and closures, as health officials urge the public to avoid large crowds. The virus has sickened more than 1,700 and killed at least 40 in the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been more than 135,000 cases.
With the number of coronavirus cases in the state rising, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Thursday declared a state of emergency and a public health emergency to free up state funds for districts across the state. He also has recommended that all gatherings of more than 250 people be canceled.
The mayor of Jersey City, meantime, has implemented a 10 p.m. curfew for any of the city's establishments that carry a liquor license.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced an outright ban on gatherings of 500 or more people across the state "for the foreseeable future," as public officials try to contain the fast-moving coronavirus outbreak.