Life as usual continued to slowly grind to a halt in Minnesota as a growing number of events, public meetings and gathering places shut down in the fight against the coronavirus.

Museums, theaters, courtrooms, public forums, sporting events and assorted other gathering places for Minnesotans closed doors and canceled programs soon after the governor declared a peacetime state of emergency on Friday. The announcement came as the number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota rose to 14. Organizations quickly heeded authorities' advice to cancel gatherings of 250 or more people.

"It's the right thing to do," said Kris Howland, spokeswoman for the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Earlier in the week, the theater began taking extra steps to disinfect surfaces and keep patrons and employees safe. But as the situation around the coronavirus rapidly changed, so did the theater's plans to stay open. It closed Friday, furloughing 300 employees.

"It's heartbreaking," Howland said. "It will be a hardship. … It's a situation that no one has lived through in my lifetime."

One by one, other theaters and cultural venues joined an expanding list of closures, including the Guthrie, Ordway and Children's Theatre. Museums that closed included the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Walker Art Center, the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona. First Avenue suspended all shows through the end of March.

Runners who had signed up to run the Hot Dash 5K and 10 Mile were told Friday that the March 21 road race is canceled.

Cities throughout the metro area closed community centers and canceled events. Dairy Queen, which heralds the start of spring with Free Cone Day, canceled the crowd-pleasing event on March 19 because of the virus.

Even large attractions with open spaces shut down, including the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the Minnesota Zoo.

"As always, the health and safety of our guests, staff, volunteers, and animals is our top priority, and we continue to actively monitor the developments of the global spread of the virus," read a statement posted by the zoo.

And on Friday, even Scott Lambert reluctantly gave in to the havoc being caused by the coronavirus and announced that the Twin Cities Auto Show was shutting down.

"It's the right thing to do, but I'm not happy about," said Lambert, president of the Greater Metro Automobile Dealers Association, which organizes the annual show.

A day earlier, he expected the show to finish its nine-day run on Sunday because steps were being taken to disinfect surfaces. But as other events and venues closed and state and national health officials raised alarms, concerns of those working and attending the show mounted.

"The whole mood seemed to change," Lambert said. "It seemed like we were dealing with more questions from the public. It seemed harder to stay open."

Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788

Correction: Previous versions incorrectly said the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona galleries were closed.