Mall of America is laying off more than 200 workers

It represents around a fifth of its workforce.

The Mall of America is making more than 200 layoffs as the retail industry continues to struggle due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bloomington megamall reopened its doors on June 10, with Nickelodeon Universe opening with restricted capacity two months later, but admitted in a statement that its recovery since reopening is slow going.

It has informed the State of Minnesota that it will start layoffs from Sept. 30, affecting 211 employees.

The mall, which typically employs anything up to 1,200 workers, also currently has 178 furloughed employees, and has told the state that this furlough may need to be extended beyond Oct. 1.

"Should that be necessary, we do not intend to end the employees' employment with MOA, rather, they would remain active employees on unpaid layoff status," the mall says in its letter to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

With many Minnesotans continuing to limit their exposure to others while the virus is still widespread, many malls have been facing financial pressures.

The MOA is doubly affected compared to some other Twin Cities shopping centers as a huge source of its traffic is from tourists, and the pandemic has sent the travel market into freefall over the past six months. In 2016, the mall said 4 out of every 10 shopper that comes through its doors is a tourist.

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In May, it was reported that the mall had missing two of its mortgage payments, and had subsequently sought aid in the Minnesota Legislature.

In a statement Thursday evening, spokesman Dan Jasper said: “When the year began, no one could have predicted the enormous challenges we would face as a business, a community and as a nation.

"While we continue to make progress at Mall of America, the road to recovery is going to be slow.”

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