Cumberland Mall remains open as other malls shutter in pandemic’s wake

Cumberland Mall in Cobb County plans to remain open. (Ben Brasch, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Cumberland Mall in Cobb County plans to remain open. (Ben Brasch, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

In a sea of closings and panic, Cumberland Mall is open for business.

The Cobb County shopping center, owned by Brookfield Properties, is bucking national trends by staying open in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. Hundreds of malls and shopping centers across the country have shut down in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

“We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak, in particular the potential impact within our local community,” a statement on the Cumberland Mall website read. “There is nothing more important than maintaining a safe environment, and we will be taking all necessary precautions for the well-being of our entire shopping center community.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has banned many public gatherings, closed bars and nightclubs, and authorized officials to shut down any business that doesn’t comply with social distancing requirements to help curb the disease without yet having to resort to drastic measures such as shelter-in-place rules.

Essential big businesses such as grocery stores and gas stations are exempt.

As of Wednesday, the impact of the coronavirus in Georgia continued to devastate. There have been more than 1,240 confirmed cases of the virus with at least 40 deaths.

Streets and roads are virtually empty, but a few malls offer solace.

Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody, which is also owned by Brookfield, has closed, although about a dozen stores, mostly restaurants, are open with limited hours.

North Point Mall in Alpharetta is closed, but two stores – the Cheesecake Factory and Dillard’s – both exterior-facing entrances remain open.

Calls and emails to the malls’ parent company were not returned.

The move follows a March 18 decision by the Simon Property Group, America’s largest mall operator to shut down all of its United States properties, including 106 malls and 69 outlet centers.

In Georgia, those closings included the Mall of Georgia, Lenox Square, North Georgia Premium Outlets, Town Center at Cobb and Phipps Plaza.

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