On March 25, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that half of all New Yorkers will likely be infected by the coronavirus.
“Probably more than half of all New Yorkers will be infected with this disease,” he said. “Thank god, for the vast majority, it will be a very mild experience. But for a lot of other people, it’s going to be really tough—and we’re going to lose some people. Our job is to make sure that we save every single New Yorker we can."
On March 20, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered New York residents to stay indoors as much as possible. He also ordered nonessential businesses to keep the entirety of their workers home. Previously, Cuomo had said that 75% of the state’s non-essential employees must work from home to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
These more drastic measures come as New York continues to find and report coronavirus cases. The state, with 19 million residents, now has over 26,000 reported cases and this number is expected to continue to grow in the coming days and weeks.
Bars and restaurants in NYC have also been closed since March 17. However, take-out and delivery is still allowed. Barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors and other nonessential businesses closed on March 22 in the evening.
In addition, all New York City-areas schools have been closed since March 16 on orders from Cuomo. The New York City school system is the nation’s largest with 1.1 million children.
On March 12, Mr. Cuomo announced a restriction on gatherings of more than 500 people. That same day, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency in the Big Apple, empowering the Mayor to take measures like creating a curfew or limiting traffic, should the need arise.
These measures come as the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow globally. There are over 35,000 cases of the virus in the U.S.
Across the city, iconic museums and theaters have announced temporary closures. The Metropolitan Museum, Whitney Museum, Guggenheim, Museum of Modern Art, and many more are all closed for the time being.
Broadway has also gone dark—theater shows are cancelled through at least April 12.
All New York Public Library locations are also closed.
For the first time ever, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was postponed and the NYC Half Marathon, scheduled for March 15, was canceled.
City parks remain open.
Extensive social distancing is the most effective way to "flatten the curve" and slow the spread of the coronavirus, according to health experts.
The Mayor has warned that NYC’s restrictions could last as long as six months.
“This is our new reality and it won't be over soon. But I know New Yorkers. I know we will fight back, support each other and get through this together. We will prevail," wrote Mayor de Blasio on Twitter.
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