North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, will shut down effective March 19 and will remain closed until at least April 2, the mall’s management announced on the shopping center’s website at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The decision seemed inevitable after recent emergency orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by Gov. J.B. Pritzker that shut down all of the state’s bars and restaurants as well as entertainment venues.  

In the wake of those orders, restaurants in the mall food court were limited to offering take-home service only. The Classic Cinemas theater and Round One entertainment complex were also shuttered, taking away two more big draws. 

The mall earlier this week had cut back its operation hours to between noon and 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. On Wednesday afternoon at about 4 p.m., about half of the mall’s stores were already closed. 

A handful of people manning kiosks in the mall’s concourses declined to talk to a reporter, glumly pointing to the obvious lack of foot traffic. 

The announcement of the closure on the mall’s website indicated that take-out/curbside service was still being offered to customers by Miller’s Ale House from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily and by Olive Garden Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The North Riverside Park Mall’s decision to close until at least April 2 followed an earlier announcement by the owner of Hawthorn Mall and Fox Valley Mall that those shopping centers would be closing Thursday through at least the end of the month.