The parking lot of the Upper Valley Mall was empty Tuesday after it closed due to the stay-at-home order. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Upper Valley Mall joins others in region closing temporarily

Add the Upper Valley Mall to the list of closures because of efforts to slow the advance of the coronavirus.

Executive director of the Clark County Land Bank Ethan Harris told the News-Sun on Tuesday the mall is closed through April 6 in accordance to a stay-at-home order signed by Ohio director of health Amy Acton and Gov. Mike DeWine.

READ MORE: Playgrounds closed due to coronavirus threat, parks remain open 

Harris said land bank, which owns the mall property, initially considered keeping the doors open for food vendors in the mall but Mark Pi’s and Pretzelmaker declined.

“The businesses were very understanding,” Harris said. “The restaurants, we asked them if they wanted us to keep the doors open so folks could come in and take carry-out, and they didn’t feel that the business they would have would support being open. So, they made the decision to close their doors and then that’s when we decided to close the doors fully.”

The stay-at-home order exempts many businesses deemed essential, a list that includes restaurants, food vendors and groceries.

Previously the mall, which was left with 12 active storefronts after the closing of Victoria’s Secret earlier this year, had requested that only those purchasing items enter the facility and directed those who walk in the building for exercise consider a nearby park such as George Rogers Clark Park at 930 S. Tecumseh Road.

The stay-at-home order went into effect Monday night but includes exceptions for businesses dubbed essential as well as outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, running, biking and going to public parks.

Harris estimated approximately 100 people walk the mall for exercise throughout the day during normal times and reported most were complying with the original request to stay away if they were not planning to buy something.

“No one contacted me with a complaint,” he said. “Everyone’s been responsible and knows that this is an important time to take precautions.”

RELATED: What businesses are considered essential? 

Washington Prime Group Inc., the owner of the Dayton Mall in Miami Twp. and The Mall at Fairfield Common in Beavercreek also announced those facilities are closed as long as necessary to comply with applicable federal, local or state mandates.

The Upper Valley Mall’s 12 storefronts are Hollywood Nails, Sheer Perfection, GNC, Bath & Body Works, Spencers Gifts, Emporium, Shoe Dept. Encore, Sonics School of Dance Gymnastics and Cheerleading, Popz Topz showroom, Foot Locker, Home Plate Sports Academy and Epic Loot Games and Comics.

Epic Loot, which hosts gaming events along with selling tabletop board games, trading card games, video games and comics, also has a location in Centerville and announced on its website both would be closing until at least April 6 to comply with the state order.

Home Plate Sports, which offers athletic training services and hosts birthday parties, had already closed as of Friday according to its Facebook page.

Opened in 1971, the mall was a hub of retail in Clark County for decades but has watched as longtime anchors like J.C. Penney and Macy’s, along with numerous smaller chains, have closed.

Sears was the most recent to leave the mall, announcing in December 2018 that it would close. The department store officially left the Clark County for good in March 2019.

The Clark County Land Reutilization Corp., otherwise known as the Clark County Land Bank, purchased 40 acres of property for about $3 million in 2017, with plans to spark development on the German Twp. site, but not much work has gone on since then.

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