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American Dream New Jersey mall delays opening events over coronavirus

Workers labor atop lifts on the side of a building construction of an indoor waterpark at the site of the American Dream mall in East Rutherford, Thursday, April 25, 2019, seen from Carlstadt, N.J.

Julio Cortez | AP

The American Dream megamall in New Jersey has not yet made clear that it will go ahead with the opening of its retail shops and a massive water park next week. But a number of opening events planned to mark the occasion will be canceled, a spokesperson for the development said Friday. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a growing list of event cancellations and closures, as health officials urge the public to avoid large crowds. The virus has sickened more than 1,700 and killed at least 40 in the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been more than 135,000 cases. 

“American Dream’s opening events, including the VIP event, scheduled between March 18 [to] March 22, 2020 are being postponed in consideration of the public safety and health of our community, which is our top priority,” a spokesperson for the development said in a statement emailed to CNBC Friday afternoon. 

“We … will provide information about new dates in the future when it is a more appropriate time for celebration,” the person said. 

The retail shops, such as Zara and Old Navy, have previously been set to begin opening at American Dream on March 19. The world’s first DreamWorks Animation Water Park had also been set to open that day. 

With the number of coronavirus cases in the state rising, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Thursday declared a state of emergency and a public health emergency to free up state funds for districts across the state. He also has recommended that all gatherings of more than 250 people be canceled. 

The mayor of Jersey City, meantime, has implemented a 10 p.m. curfew for any of the city’s establishments that carry a liquor license. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced an outright ban on gatherings of 500 or more people across the state “for the foreseeable future,” as public officials try to contain the fast-moving coronavirus outbreak. 

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