Malls, restaurants, gyms in uncharted territory in U.S. on COVID-19


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Paperwork came down Monday afternoon in Illinois that left malls and organizations throughout the United States facing unfamiliar territory.

“The time for persuasion and public appeals is over. The time for action is here. This is not a joke. No one is immune to this, and you have an obligation to act in the best interests of all the people in this state.” The Governor said in direct response following crowds in Chicago at bars across the City for St. Patrick’s Day last Saturday.

“Right now we are still waiting but some store has already shorten hours and some stores have closed this is over.” a Northfield Square Mall rep told us via Facebook Tuesday morning.

That statement comes nearly 48 hours after the Illinois Governor’s announcement to call for groups of 50 people or less to gather in public spaces. An announcement that beginning today includes gyms, theaters, and bowling alleys in the executive order paperwork signed and filed with the State.

“I tried earlier this week to appeal to everyone’s good judgment to stay home, to avoid bars, not to congregate in crowds. It’s unfortunate that many people didn’t take that seriously.” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during his daily COVID-19 press conference.

Monday, the White House, which had previously failed to issue advice to Americans, pushed that bar to the bottom, asking Americans to keep to groups of 10 or less while avoiding crowds of 50 or more.

“We’re calling on every American to do your part,” Vice President Mike Pence said Monday during a press conference following the call for gatherings of 10 people or less.

Small Business Owners are doing their part to let their voice be heard. Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Steakhouse in Nashville let out a fierce reply to Nashville’s Mayor’s call to close all bars in town and cut restaurants’ capacity in half. In less than 24 hours, the Bar announced it would comply with the order.

“I’m not answering anymore messages asking if we are closing due to this spreading of coronavirus. Most know that we don’t close unless we absolutely have to and we haven’t closed for anything in years.” Fit Body U in Bourbonnais told their clients via the gym’s Facebook, “We don’t close but we will if the state tells us we have to, they have not said anything yet.”

Late last week, several mall-based stores like Abercombie & Finch, Apple, Nike, REI, Lululemon, Patagonia and Urban Outfitters already announced they’re shutting down stores across the globe through late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Malls throughout the state have already issued curbed hours throughout the State of Illinois. At Oakbrook Center’s outdoor mall, normal hours of 10 am to 9 pm have been shortened to noon to 7 pm Monday through Saturday. Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg cut its hours from noon to 6 pm on Sunday.

As of writing, Northfield Square Mall had failed to announce any adjusted hours due to the spread of COVID-19 while stores within like Bath and Body Works and Lenscrafters have done so independently. Restaurants in Northfield Square Mall, including KanSai Japanese Steakhouse have abided by the Illinois Executive Order and are closed.

Sunday, Saudi Arabia, one of the most aggressive countries to act out against the virus, ordered malls as well as restaurants, coffee shops, public parks, and gardens, closed effective immediately.

Shane Saathoff
Shane Saathoff
An active writer for two decades, Shane's focuses on local news and events throughout the area, Shane is an active historian, science nerd, and tech geek. Shane is a native of Bourbonnais, IL, and alumni of Olivet Nazarene University.


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