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Macy's, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom closing all stores due to coronavirus

The closures go into effect at the end of business March 17 and will remain until March 31.

Macy's Inc. and Nordstrom have announced it will temporarily close all stores in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. 

The Macy's Inc. closures will take place at the end of the business day on Tuesday, March 17. Stores will be closed through March 31. All Macy's, Bloomingdales, Bluemercury, Macy's Backstage, Bloomingdales the Outlet and Market by Macy's stores will close. 

“The health and safety of our customers, colleagues and communities is our utmost priority," Jeff Gennette, chairman and CEO of Macy's Inc. said in an emailed statement. "We will work with government and health officials to assess when we will reopen our stores and safely bring our colleagues back to work."

The retailer says it will provide benefits and compensation to its workforce affected by the closure. Customers can still order items online at Macy's Bloomingdales and Bluemercury websites.

Nordstrom also announced it will temporarily close all of its stores for two weeks starting Tuesday as it tries to limit the spread of the new virus. 

The Seattle-based upscale chain operates 380 stores including 116 department stores. It is the latest retailer to announce temporary closures and joins such chains such as Nike, Everlane, Apple and Abercrombie & Fitch in closing its doors. 

Like most of the other chains, Nordstrom says it will be providing pay for its employees during the period. The company is also withdrawing its annual financial guidance, noting a slowdown in consumer demand, particularly in markets affected by the coronavirus.

According to a tracker by John Hopkins University, the United States has reported more than 4,600 cases of COVID-19, with 85 deaths and 17 recoveries. 

The White House released new guidelines on Monday recommending everyone avoid groups larger than 10 people for the next 15 days. Officials also said older adults should stay home completely.

The majority of people who have the new coronavirus, which causes the disease known as COVID-19, will get better without any long-term effects, according to an Oregon doctor.

About 80% of cases tend to be mild. In these cases, symptoms diminish over five to seven days, although people are still capable of transmitting the disease. But there are many people with a higher risk of having a more severe disease if they are diagnosed with coronavirus, including those with heart disease, diabetes, asthma and other vascular disease problems. Also, most children who get it have mild symptoms.