Joining many of its retailing peers, Ralph Lauren (RL 0.60%) announced on Tuesday it will close its store base across North America beginning on March 18 and running through April 1.

The apparel and fragrance maker is temporarily closing these locations in response to the continued spread of COVID-19 and the subsequent collapse in customer traffic as people practice social distancing.

"Our number one priority is the health and well-being of our employees, our consumers, and the communities we serve," CEO Patrice Louvet said in a press release. The chain will continue paying employees for the two-week period of paused activity.

A shopper holding bags on an escalator.

Image source: Getty Images.

Ralph Lauren will monitor local economic and health conditions, along with guidance from local government and global health organizations, as it determines when to bring its physical retailing network back into operation.

Its e-commerce channel is still running at full capacity, but the retailer is taking extra precautions for workers in its distribution centers including implementing staggered work schedules and additional deep cleanings. Management promised investors more information as the situation unfolds in the coming weeks, and a more comprehensive update to its outlook will arrive with its fourth-quarter earnings announcement in mid-May.