LDS Church closes Temple Square, other downtown attractions, because of coronavirus

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Crews begin to prepare the grounds for the 4-year renovation of the Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Friday, March 13, 2020, that it would close Temple Square and many nearby church-owned buildings because of coronavirus.

Editor’s note • The Salt Lake Tribune is providing readers free access to critical local stories about the coronavirus during this time of heightened concern. See more coverage here.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Friday that it would close Temple Square, along with its libraries, museum, restaurants and other visitor attractions in downtown Salt Lake City, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The closures took effect at 5 p.m. Friday, according to a news release, and will last “until further notice.”

The church’s Conference Center — which has become its de facto visitors’ center after construction began earlier this year to renovate Temple Square and its iconic temple — will also be closed.

Temple Square is one of Utah’s most popular tourist draws, with around 5 million visitors a year.

The other impacted buildings include:

• Assembly Hall.

• Tabernacle.

• North Visitors’ Center.

• Family History Library.

• Church History Museum.

• Relief Society Building.

• Church Office Building.

• Beehive House.

• Church History Library.

• Joseph Smith Memorial Building (including restaurants).

• Lion House.

Construction work will continue on the six-spired, pioneer-era temple, which is undergoing a four-year seismic retrofit along with upgrades to its mechanical, plumbing, electrical and heating and cooling systems, the release said. Welfare Square operations will proceed, but public tours are temporarily discontinued.