All restaurants, bars, casinos, gyms, and theaters in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will be temporarily closed as of 8 p.m. Monday to prevent the spread of coronavirus pandemic, the governors of all three states jointly announced.
Restaurants will only be open for take-out and delivery. The unprecedented action comes after increasingly stringent restrictions aimed at discouraging the public from congregating in crowded places where the pandemic can spread. But many members of the public ignored those warnings, jamming bars over the weekend.
“Our primary goal right now is to slow the spread of this virus so that the wave of new infections doesn’t crash our healthcare system, and everyone agrees social distancing is the best way to do that,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who made the announcement Monday morning in a conference call with the media and the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut. “This is not a war that can be won alone, which is why New York is partnering with our neighboring states to implement a uniform standard that not only keeps our people safe but also prevents ‘state shopping’ where residents of one state travel to another and vice versa.”
The emergency measure comes after a string of events were canceled to avoid mass gatherings where the disease can spread, including all major league sports seasons being suspended, all schools on Long Island being closed for two weeks and in New York City until April 20, St. Patrick’s Day parades being canceled, and anyplace that hosts events with a capacity of more than 500 people being required to reduce capacity.
It was not immediately clear when restaurants, bars, casinos, gyms, and theaters in the tri-state area would reopen. Cuomo added that he strongly urged only essential businesses such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and medical facilities remain open after 8 p.m., although he cautioned that this was not a mandate.