NYC restaurants, bars, schools closed to prevent virus spread

Restaurants and bars will be limited to takeout and delivery services only

Mar.March 16, 2020 08:50 AM
Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a press conference about COVID-19 (Credit: Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wre/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a press conference about COVID-19 (Credit: Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wre/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Restaurants, bars and schools in New York City will shut down, marking the latest aggressive moves to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that he would limit bars and restaurants to to takeout and delivery services effective 9 a.m. Tuesday, according to the New York Times. The state previously called on restaurants to close or cut their seating capacity in half, and food delivery company Seamless has said it will defer collecting commission fees from ”impacted independent restaurants.”

Schools are closed as of today, but the city will ask teachers to come in later in the week for remote learning training sessions. The soonest they might reopen is April 20, but de Blasio said there was a good chance they would remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Like restaurants, schools will be allowed to distribute takeout meals, as many of the city’s 1.1 million public school students rely on them for breakfast and lunch, the mayor said.

Schools on Long Island and in Westchester County will also close this week, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

”The virus can spread rapidly through the close interactions New Yorkers have in restaurants, bars and places where we sit close together,” de Blasio said in a statement Sunday. ”We have to break that cycle.”

He also ordered nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses and concert venues to close beginning Tuesday morning. The mayor’s statement did not say when they might be able to reopen.

New York is far from the only state to shut down its bars and restaurants. Governors in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington and Ohio have taken the same measure in an effort to halt the spread of the virus, according to USA Today. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has also ordered bars and restaurants in five counties to close dine-in facilities, and the mayors of Nashville and New Orleans have placed restrictions on restaurants as well.

The Centers for Disease Control also released new guidance on Sunday, urging Americans to avoid holding gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks to slow the spread of the disease. [NYT] — Eddie Small

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