New York City mayor orders restaurants, bars, theatres closed for coronavirus

New York City mayor orders restaurants, bars, theatres closed for coronavirus

Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was not a decision he was making lightly but "our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality."

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(Photo: Unsplash / Ferdinand Stohr)

The city that never sleeps will be taking a break from the action. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday (Mar 15) said he was ordering the city's famed restaurants, theatres, bars and movie houses closed in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Any restaurant, bar or cafe selling food will only be able to do so via delivery or take-out, according to the mayor.

An empty restaurant is seen in the Manhattan borough following the outbreak of the coronavirus dise
An empty restaurant is seen in the Manhattan borough following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New York City, U.S., March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

"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. "We have to break that cycle."

The mayor said it was not a decision he was making lightly.

"These places are part of the heart and soul of our city. They are part of what it means to be a New Yorker," he said. "But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality."

READ: Lady Gaga undergoes self-quarantine as celebrities urge everyone to stay home 

There was no word yet on how long the businesses would remain closed. The mayor's office did not immediately respond to requests for more details on the executive order, which de Blasio plans to announce on Monday.

More than 50,000 restaurants in New York were expected to shutter by Tuesday at 9 am. According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurants account for more than US$51 billion (S$72.36 million) in annual revenue and have more than 800,000 employees.

Empty street is seen in Manhattan borough following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Empty street is seen in Manhattan borough following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New York City, U.S., Mar 15, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

"We will come through this, but until we do, we must make whatever sacrifices necessary to help our fellow New Yorkers," de Blasio said.

Before word of the mayor's order came out, a New York police cruiser was seen in the East Village neighbourhood, a pillar of the city's night life scene, telling patrons of bars and restaurants to disperse and go home. Several businesses closed up shop shortly afterward.

(Source: Reuters)

Source: Reuters/sr

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