In this May 8, 2020, file photo, a J.C. Penney store sits closed in Roseville, Mich. Credit: Paul Sancya | AP

The five JC Penney stores in Maine will escape the first round of the giant retailer’s plan to shutter outlets nationwide as it goes through bankruptcy proceedings.

The stores in the Auburn Mall, Maine Mall in South Portland, Elm Plaza in Waterville, Bangor Mall and Aroostook Centre Mall in Presque Isle are not among the 154 closures JC Penney has listed on its website. However, those stores have been temporarily closed in recent months under pandemic restrictions.

The 118-year-old department store filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 15, the largest retail casualty by number of locations so far, following J. Crew and Neiman Marcus, which also filed for bankruptcy in May.

JC Penney stores are anchors at many of the nation’s malls. In all, 30 percent of the retailer’s 846 stores are to close over the next two years.

Nearby casualties of this first round of closures are four locations in New Hampshire: North Conway, Keene, Rochester and West Lebanon.

Lori Valigra, investigative reporter for the environment, holds an M.S. in journalism from Boston University. She was a Knight journalism fellow at M.I.T. and has extensive international reporting experience...