Simon Property Group, the largest owner of shopping malls in the nation, is closing all of its malls and retail properties because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Simon Property Group, the largest owner of shopping malls in the nation, is closing all of its malls and retail properties because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The closings start at 7 p.m. local time Wednesday and are expected to end March 29, the Indianapolis-based company said in a news release.

The closings come after several department stores from Macy's, J.C. Penney to Nordstrom and other mall brands including Gap, Victoria's Secret and Sephora, have announced they are also temporarily closing locations.

In a statement, the company said the decision came after "extensive discussions with federal, state and local officials and in recognition of the need to address the spread of COVID-19."

"The health and safety of our shoppers, retailers and employees is of paramount importance, and we are taking this step to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities," president and CEO David Simon said in the release.

The closings include the company's 209 U.S. properties, which include malls and premium outlets.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko