Lenox, Phipps, Mall of Ga. to close for 10 days

Lenox Square, Phipps Plaza and Mall of Georgia will shut down tonight, part of a broader response to the coronavirus by the largest U.S. mall operator.

Simon Property Group will close all of its 320 malls in North America and Asia at 7 p.m. tonight through March 29, the Indianapolis-based company said Wednesday. Simon also operates Town Center at Cobb and Sugarloaf Mills.

"The health and safety of our shoppers, retailers and employees is of paramount importance," CEO David Simon said in a statement.

Malls were already struggling to respond to the rise of digital commerce, but the spread of the virus has forced retailers across the country to shut down. Macy's said Tuesday that it will close all stores until the end of March, and Ponce City Market has closed for an indefinite period.

Meanwhile, some restaurants have remained open, although many have closed due to restrictions on large gatherings. Some of them are still offering takeout service. Numerous restaurant chains, including McDonald's, Chick-fil-A and Starbucks have closed inside dining facilities.

Health officials have reported 197 confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia, and at least three Georgians have died from the disease.