The global coronavirus pandemic has forced many retailers and restaurants across Northwest Indiana to temporarily close shop, as part of national efforts to keep the contagious disease from spreading from person to person.
The temporarily closings, many for at least two weeks, are too numerous to fully account for, but here are some of them:
Albert's Diamond Jewelers closed its stores in Schererville and the Southlake Mall for the time being.
"In light of growing concerns, the health and safety of our customers, employees and community is our top priority," the jeweler posted on social media. "As a result of the current COVID-19 developments we have decided to temporarily close our two locations. Thank you for your long-term trust in Albert’s. Stay healthy and safe, we’ll #seeyouatalberts."
JCPenney is closing all its stores, including at the Southlake Mall in Hobart and River Oaks Center in Calumet City until at least April 2.
“With the effects of the outbreak being felt more each day, our primary concern and area of focus is and has been on the health and safety of our associates, our customers, and our communities,” JCPenney CEO Jill Soltau said. “We know this is a critical, unprecedented time and our thoughts are with those who have been impacted.”
H&M also is closing its Southlake Mall store through April 2 along with all its other U.S. locations and will pay its workers for two weeks. Other national retail chains with locations in Northwest Indiana that are temporarily closing their doors include Macy's, DSW, Bath & Body Works, Victoria's Secret, Old Navy, Ulta Beauty, Sephora, Vera Bradley and Ralph Lauren. The Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets in Michigan City, which has Ralph Lauren and Vera Bradley outlets, is completely closed for the time being.
TJX is temporarily shuttering its T.J. Maxx stores in Schererville, Merrillville and Michigan City, its Marshalls stores in Highland, Valparaiso, and Calumet City, and its HomeGoods stores in Schererville and Valparaiso.
"Our hearts are with people around the world who have been affected by the COVID-1 outbreak. TJX has made the decision to do our part to help prevent the further spread of this virus by temporarily closing all stores globally as of today for the next two weeks in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia," Chief Executive Officer Ernie Herrman said. "This pandemic has affected everyone’s lives, including those of our associates and customers. We are concerned for the health and financial well-being of our associates, and we plan to pay our store, distribution and office Associates for two weeks during these closures."
Along with many other gyms, Planet Fitness has temporarily shuttered its gyms nationwide, including in Crown Point, Hobart, Hammond, Merrillville, Schererville, Valparaiso, and Michigan City. It's waiving monthly fees for members during the shutdown.
"Together we are experiencing unprecedented times, and the COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly every day. As we navigate these uncharted waters as a global community, the health of our team members, members, and neighbors is our #1 priority," Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau said. "Out of an abundance of caution, all of our clubs have closed until further notice. As your long-term partner in fitness, we have proactively frozen all memberships on your behalf, and you will not be charged any fees during this time. We will be ready to serve you in a clean, sanitary, and judgement free environment when we reopen."
In the interim, the gym chain is hosting daily workouts at 7 p.m. eastern time on Facebook Live to encourage people to work out at home, and encouraging members to download its app to learn about 500 different exercises they can do at home.
Some local businesses are opting to take unplanned "vacations" during the public health emergency.
Fiddlehead Restaurant in downtown Michigan City initially offered carryout and delivery but then decided to close after Friday.
"We have made the difficult yet necessary decision to close after Friday, March 19th until this pandemic is over," the restaurant posted on Facebook. "We have absolutely no plans to close indefinitely, but until times are a bit more certain it is in our best interest to stop service for now. We are overwhelmed with the love and community support we have received through all of this. We love being a part of Michigan City and we look forward to brighter days in our future... During our little 'vacation,' we wish all of you health and happiness. Sending all our love and healing thoughts! Can't wait to see you all again very soon!"
If you've got tips about new stores or restaurants anywhere in the Region, or just wonder what's under construction somewhere, contact NWI Business Ins and Outs columnist Joseph S. Pete at email@example.com or 219.933.3316.