WINNIPEG -- The next time you visit the food court at Cityplace mall in downtown Winnipeg you may notice something different – there is no place to sit.

On Tuesday, Cityplace announced it would be temporarily removing food court seating to promote social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The mall said the restaurants in the food court will remain open.

"Our local businesses are going to be hit hardest during this period," Cityplace said in a written statement on its website. "Don’t let that deter you from enjoying your favorite Cityplace take out options for morning coffee, lunch and dinner with the family."

The mall encouraged Manitobans to consider using delivery options such as Skip the Dishes, Uber Eats or DoorDash to continue to support the restaurant industry.

This is echoed by the Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association (MRFA) which said on Wednesday it is strongly encouraging the public to opt for delivery, take-out and take & bake options, as opposed to a sit-in meal.

The MRFA said that 60 per cent of its member restaurants have chosen to voluntarily close as the outbreak of COVID-19 continues in Manitoba.

Another seven presumptive cases of the virus were announced on Tuesday evening. Currently there are 15 cases of COVID-19 in the province.

READ MORE: Seven new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba

THE MRFA said the remaining restaurants are taking cleaning precautions and implementing social distancing policies.

"We feel all restaurants must take all the necessary steps to ensure our patrons and staff are safe and hope our valued customers can continue to support us with other means of patronage," Tony Siwicki , chairman of the MRFA board of directors and owner of Silver Heights Restaurant, said in a news release. 

Portage Place mall announced on Twitter that as of 7 p.m. on March 18, seating in the food court will be closed until further notice. Takeout and delivery will be available on a tenant-by-tenant basis.