SALT LAKE CITY — Much of Temple Square here is effectively closed to the public until further notice, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Friday evening.
The church announced it was closing 10 church-owned buildings in and around Temple Square, effective immediately. The closures are in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
On Saturday two other buildings were added to the list.
The list includes the Church Office Building, Conference Center, Assembly Hall and Tabernacle. Construction work on the Salt Lake Temple will continue, as will operations at Welfare Square (minus public tours, which are temporarily discontinued), according to the church’s Newsroom website.
The Joseph Smith Memorial Building and Lion House will no longer be open to the public, it was determined Saturday. The restaurants are also now closed.
The decision means a temporary suspension for the popular tours of the historic Tabernacle as well as access to the observation deck and other areas of the Church Office Building and the Conference Center, which had been serving as the chief visitors center for the renovation of the Salt Lake Temple.
The Family History Library, Church History Museum and Church History Library — which was exhibiting a special display of Joseph Smith’s handwritten first account of the First Vision — are closed, as are the Assembly Hall, Beehive House, North Visitors’ Center and Relief Society Building.
Temple Square is an official National Historic Landmark and a tremendous tourist attraction, drawing 3 million to 5 million visitors annually, according to visitsaltlake.com.
The Temple Square closure is the latest in a series of significant announcements made by the church this week to help combat the global coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, it was announced that April’s general conference will be held without the public in attendance at the 21,000-seat Conference Center in Salt Lake City. The church announced Thursday that all meetings worldwide would be temporarily suspended, and followed Friday with announcements about temple operations and “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcasts.