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Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort closes in peak of season as coronavirus spreads in US, report says

President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach is seen from West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., as Trump prepared to return to Washington after a weekend at the estate, March 5, 2017.

Joe Skipper | Reuters

President Donald Trump‘s Palm Beach golf resort, Mar-a-Lago, has closed down amid the coronavirus pandemic, a new report said Friday.

The New York Times reported that the southern Florida club, where Trump has spent more than 100 days as president, shuttered its doors as the Trump Organization cuts staff and halts reservations across its portfolio of hotels, golf courses and other properties.

Mar-a-Lago would normally be at the peak of its annual business this time of year, according to the newspaper.

A spokesperson for the Trump Organization told CNBC in a statement: “Various facilities are temporarily closed given local, state and federal mandates. We anxiously await the day when this pandemic is over and our world-class facilities can reopen.”

A receptionist who answered Mar-a-Lago’s phone number declined to comment on the Times’ report.

Trump has used the luxe beachside resort as an escape from the often antagonistic forces in Washington, D.C., as well as to conduct presidential business – even referring to the property as the “Winter White House” on multiple occasions.

Earlier this month, Trump traveled to Mar-a-Lago to host a delegation of Brazilian officials, including the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, and his communications chief, Fabio Wajngarten.

Wajngarten later tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting U.S. officials including White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham to temporarily isolate themselves out of an abundance of caution. Bolsonaro and Trump both say they tested negative for the coronavirus.

Eric Trump, the president’s son and manager of the family business, told the Times in an interview that the Trump Organization was trying to limit shutdowns.

“As an organization we are following federal, state and local direction and guidance very carefully,” Eric Trump told the Times.

The reported cutbacks to the president’s business empire are emblematic of how the COVID-19 virus’ rapid spread across the globe has upended life at every level of society.

Efforts to prevent transmission of the disease have forced state leaders to completely shut down dine-in restaurants, bars and clubs, potentially triggering massive waves of unemployment as businesses lay off their employees.

People have been advised to stay in their homes and avoid close contact with anyone, regardless of whether they exhibit symptoms, as part of “social distancing” practices aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. Major industries are begging for federal assistance, and markets continue to tank as investors worry that treatments for the disease may not come nearly soon enough.

The coronavirus, believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected more than 245,000 people around the world, killing more than 10,000, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. In the U.S., at least 14,250 people have contracted the virus and more than 200 have died, according to Johns Hopkins.

Read the Times’ full report on how the Trump Organization is reacting to the coronavirus crisis.

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