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Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall will temporarily close doors to help curb spread of coronavirus

The Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Bill Roth / ADN)

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The Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall downtown will shut its doors for almost two weeks to help limit the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

Simon Property Group, owner of the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall, announced Wednesday it would close its national lineup of malls and other properties amid the outbreak. The decision followed extensive discussions with federal, state and local officials, the real estate investment group said.

The closure will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday and end on March 29, the company said.

“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, chief executive of Simon Property Group.

The Dimond Center in South Anchorage will remain open, though individual store hours might change, general manager Robert Dye said in a statement Monday.

More than 15 restaurants in the mall will temporarily close, he said, after an emergency order on Monday from Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz prohibiting dine-in services for food or drink through March 31. But takeout or delivery is still available, he said.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Dimond Center has taken all necessary precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization and our local health officials to help keep Alaskans safe,” Dye’s statement said. “Some of these precautions include, but are not limited to, an increased frequency of cleaning and sterilization procedures using CDC-recommended cleaning products, introducing hospital-grade alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers and/or disinfectant wipes throughout the center and more.”