LDS Church shuts down all historic sites nationwide due to coronavirus

(AP file photo)The St. George Tabernacle in 2018. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has closed all historic sites due to the coronavirus.

This historic wave of closures from the coronavirus has now claimed Mormon historic sites.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday afternoon that “all church historic sites” have been shut down, including Cove Fort in central Utah and others in and around St. George.

The nationwide list — ranging from attractions in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois to Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and California — also includes the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial in Vermont and spots in Palmyra and Fayette, N.Y.

“At some places, such as the Sacred Grove [where church founder Joseph Smith reported seeing his ‘First Vision’ nearly 200 years ago], grounds will remain open so visitors can walk through,” a news release said. “However, guided tours will not be provided at these locations.”

The Utah-based faith already had shuttered its tourist draws in downtown Salt Lake City, including famed Temple Square.

The church’s tally of closed temples around the globe also mushroomed Monday to nearly 40.

All 15 of Utah’s operating temples remained open but they will accommodate Latter-day Saints “by appointment only” and only for small groups for “living ordinances” such as marriages, sealings and endowments for prospective missionaries and couples intending to wed.

Scores of other temples worldwide also are functioning, the release said, but for limited hours and only for living ordinances.

No proxy work — in which members perform religious rites such as baptisms for their deceased ancestors — are taking place at any of the church’s more than 160 temples.