NYC Shuts Schools, Restaurants and Bars: Coronavirus Live Updates – The New York Times
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Schools, restaurants and bars in New York City are closing.
New Yorkers awoke to a new reality on Monday after the city took drastic measures to slow the spread of coronavirus, shutting down its public school system and announcing that bars and restaurants would be limited to takeout and delivery effective Tuesday.
“Our lives are all changing in ways that were unimaginable just a week ago,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “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.”
Public schools on Long Island and in Westchester County are also closing this week.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered New York City school officials to develop a plan within 24 hours to offer child care to students of parents who work in essential industries like health care and to provide food to students who depend on schools for meals.
The city’s public schools are now closed for all students and staff. On March 23, the city plans to restart school via remote learning.
“These children need you,” the mayor said in an appeal to the city’s teachers. “Keep their education going.”
Some campuses will reopen on March 23 as “enrichment centers.” They will be set up to provide instruction and services for vulnerable children, including homeless students and children with special needs.
The mayor said he hoped to reopen school on April 20, but cautioned that there was a strong chance that schools would stay shut for the rest of the academic year.
“The facts have given us no other choice,” he said.
As of Sunday, New York State had 729 confirmed coronavirus cases, officials said, up from 524 on Saturday. The largest concentration was in New York City, where 329 people have tested positive, up from 213 on Saturday. There were 196 confirmed cases in Westchester County, just north of New York City.
On Long Island, there were 98 confirmed cases in Nassau County and at least 47 in Suffolk County.
The city’s Department of Health issued guidance on Sunday urging New Yorkers to act as if they personally had been exposed to coronavirus.
Residents were asked to leave home only for essential tasks such as work, getting groceries and supplies or essential medical care.
In New Jersey, Gov. Philip D. Murphy said Sunday that a statewide school shutdown was “imminent.”
And in Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont said Sunday that all public schools in the state will shut down on Tuesday and stay closed until at least March 31.
Mayor de Blasio said the city must adopt a “wartime mentality.”
Mr. de Blasio said on Sunday his executive order would limit restaurants, bars and cafes to takeout and delivery. Nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses and concert venues must all close.
“This is not a decision I make lightly,” he said. “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.”
On Sunday afternoon, Mr. de Blasio announced a number of other measures: Ordering hospitals in the city to cancel all elective surgery, postponing an upcoming election for the Queens borough president and closing city senior centers. On Sunday, his office said that visits to the Rikers Island jail were also suspended.
In addition, Mr. Cuomo asked all nonessential state employees who work in the southern part of the state — New York City, Long Island, and Rockland and Westchester Counties — to work from home. Members of the Legislature should return to work in Albany, he said, likening them to soldiers during a war.
“The government must function,” he said.
While he continued to call for social distancing and sounded the alarm about the lack of hospital space, the governor also urged people to remain calm.
No elected officials are calling for closing off the city by shutting down mass transit or roadways.
The officials have emphasized that mass transit must be running in order to ensure that the health care system continues to operate. If the subway were shut down, health care workers would have difficulty reaching hospitals and other health care facilities.
In New Jersey, the mayor of Teaneck asked the city’s 41,000 residents to self-quarantine and not to leave their homes other than to buy food or pick up medicine. There are at least 18 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Teaneck.
Gov. Philip D. Murphy said on Sunday that a statewide curfew remains “under consideration” and that a statewide shutdown of schools “is imminent.” The New Jersey system serves 1.4 million public school students.
Jersey City, the state’s second largest city, announced a closing effective at noon on Monday of just about all nonessential establishments: bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, performance centers, gyms, fitness centers, barber shops, day-care centers, nail salons and nonurgent medical offices including, dentists, physical therapists and chiropractors.
Restaurants can still offer takeout. There have been four confirmed cases of coronavirus in Jersey City.
Grocery stores with three or more registers will be asked to offer dedicated shopping hours from 9 to 11 a.m. for disabled and older residents and pregnant women.
New Jersey had 98 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Sunday afternoon, an increase of 31 new cases from the day before. Two people in the state have died after testing positive for the virus.
Experts warn the outbreak could lead to widespread job losses and business failures.
New York City faces the prospect of sweeping job losses and business failures, with movie theaters, Broadway, bars, restaurants and tourism all closing down or heavily restricted.
Ronnie Lowenstein, director of the city’s Independent Budget Office, said the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak could be more severe than the toll of crises like the 2001 terrorist attacks or the 2008 financial meltdown.
“Economic activity slows and time stops,” she said. “Everything gets affected.”
New York City, which has more than 25,000 restaurants and 120,000 hotel rooms, is particularly at risk because of its reliance on tourism.
James Parrott, director of economic and fiscal policies at the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School, said the city is likely to lose as many as 500,000 jobs that cater to foreign and domestic visitors, with lost wages amounting to $1 billion a month.
Scott M. Stringer, the New York City comptroller, estimated on Monday that public health restrictions announced in recent days “could conservatively cost the city $3.2 billion in lost tax revenues over the next six months.”
Between now and the end of June, he said restaurant sales could decline by 80 percent and real estate and retail sales by 20 percent, with hotels operating at 20 percent occupancy.
“We’re facing the possibility of a prolonged recession,” Mr. Stringer said in a statement.
Mr. de Blasio, asked on Monday morning about relief for businesses and workers affected by the decision to close bars and restaurants, said, “We’re getting grants and loans and things for small businesses, but that’s a small piece.”
“We need a massive federal relief program,” he said.
Mr. de Blasio said that feeding stations would have to be created to serve different groups, including schoolchildren whose buildings had shut down.
“Let’s be clear,” the mayor said. “We’re getting close to a reality where the government has to insure that the food supply, that it is not only available but that it’s equitably distributed.”
Governor Cuomo calls for the Army Corps of Engineers to build more hospital beds.
Mr. Cuomo renewed his request on Monday morning for the Army Corps of Engineers to be deployed to New York to combat the coronavirus outbreak by creating more hospital beds.
Speaking on “Good Morning America,” the governor called for the Army Corps to help retrofit facilities like college dormitories into makeshift medical wards. He said the state government does not have the capacity to quickly build more hospitals on its own.
The state has approximately 3,000 I.C.U. beds, about 80 percent of which are already occupied, the governor said.
“This is a disaster waiting to happen,” Mr. Cuomo said of the limited hospital capacity.
The governor also called for more federal guidance on restrictions on schools, restaurants, bars and other gathering spaces. He called the current approach, in which individual cities and states make their own decisions, “an ad hoc system that is not going to work.”
“There has been no country that has handled this without a national response,” he said.
New York courts postpone many cases.
State courts in New York will postpone many criminal cases indefinitely and stop performing all but the most essential functions to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, officials said.
In addition, all eviction proceedings and pending eviction orders have been suspended statewide until further notice.
The state’s chief administrative judge sent a memorandum to judges, clerks and other employees on Sunday that said as of 5 p.m. on Monday, all nonessential court functions will be postponed until further notice in response to the coronavirus.
The order will put hundreds of cases on hold. People charged with felonies who are out on bail will have their cases adjourned “until further notice,” the chief administrative judge, Lawrence K. Marks, said in the memo.
Defendants who are awaiting trial in jail will also have their hearings either put off or conducted remotely using video cameras. The initial court appearances, or arraignments, of people who have just been arrested with also be conducted by video in New York City.
The city’s Red Hook Community Court and the Midtown Community Court have been designated as arraignment sites for people at “medical risk” for coronavirus where they can appear remotely by video.
But it remained unclear how much court officials could do without action by the governor or the state legislature.
State law says people who are arrested on violent felony charges and held in jail must be indicted by a grand jury within six business days or the charges must be dismissed.
Similarly, the current law requires charges to be dismissed if the prosecutors don’t comply with speedy trial rules. The same holds true for the state’s recently enacted rules requiring prosecutors to turn over evidence against the accused within 15 days of the first appearance.
New York’s presidential primary could be delayed.
New York State’s presidential primary election could be moved from April 28 to June 23, the date of another scheduled statewide primary, in response to the coronavirus outbreak, officials said on Sunday.
Two other states — Louisiana and Georgia — have already postponed their primaries and other states are debating similar delays and alternatives, including mail-in balloting measures to avoid large crowds in public.
Douglas A. Kellner, co-chairman of the New York State Board of Elections, confirmed on Sunday that discussions were underway about the possibility of delaying the primary to curb the spread of the virus. But he said that no final decision had been reached.
Jonah Engel Bromwich, Matthew Haag, Jesse McKinley, Andy Newman, Eliza Shapiro, Liam Stack and Tracey Tully contributed reporting.