New York City will close all of its bars and restaurants on Tuesday, with service limited to delivery and take out because of the rapidly spreading coronavirus, according to a statement by Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday.
The executive order will be signed tomorrow and will go into effect on Tuesday at 9 a.m. Nightclubs, movie theatres, small theater houses, and concert venues must also close.
“Our lives are all changing in ways that were unimaginable just a week ago. We are taking a series of actions that we never would have taken otherwise in an effort to save the lives of loved ones and our neighbors,” the mayor announced.
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Japanese tourists wear face masks as they sit and chat in Times Square in New York, on Sunday, March 15, 2020. President Donald Trump on Sunday called on Americans to cease hoarding groceries and other supplies, while one of the nation’s most senior public health officials called on the nation to act with more urgency to safeguard their health as the coronavirus outbreak continued to spread across the United States. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
De Blasio said “now is the time” to take this drastic step because of how quickly the virus can be spread through close interactions in those types of limited spaces. It’s unclear how long this new measure will stay in effect.
“This is not a decision I make lightly,” he added. “These places are part of the heart and soul of our city. They are part of what it means to be a New Yorker. But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality.”
A food truck vendor pushes his cart down an empty street near Times Square in New York, on Sunday, March 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
There were more than 329 confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York City as of Sunday night, while five people have died from the virus.
Only 25 cases were confirmed in the city a week ago. Due to a lack of testing, the infected numbers are likely to be much higher.
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“We will come through this, but until we do, we must make whatever sacrifices necessary to help our fellow New Yorkers.”
De Blasio announced earlier in the day that all schools in the city would close from Monday until late-April, while adding there was a possibility “we may not have the opportunity to re-open them.” That decision came in response to pressure from parents and teachers in the city.
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“It is quite clear that this crisis is growing intensely,” the mayor said earlier on Sunday. “We’ve never been through anything like this.”