NYC to limit restaurants and bars to takeout over coronavirus

Jason Silverstein

New York City this week will shut down all theaters, nightclubs and concert venues due to coronavirus, and all dining establishments will become take-out and delivery only, the mayor announced Sunday night. The changes begin 9 a.m. Tuesday.

"This is not a decision I make lightly. These places are the heart and soul of our city," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. 

"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." 

De Blasio said New Yorkers have to "break the cycle" of the virus spreading through close interactions. He said he will sign an executive order Monday to shutter nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses and concert venues. Restaurants, cafes and bars will remain open but switch to take-out and delivery service. He did not say how long these restrictions will last.

Statement from Mayor de Blasio on New York City bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues: pic.twitter.com/LSl35yw0FL

— Freddi Goldstein (@FreddiGoldstein) March 16, 2020

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

This is only the latest dramatic shutdown in America's largest city, which closed many of its legendary cultural attractions last week to help stop the spread of coronavirus. In just a matter of days, all Broadway shows stopped, and institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Carnegie Hall temporarily closed their doors.

The announcement came the same day de Blasio said New York City schools will close until at least April 20, and perhaps for the rest of the school year.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week banned gatherings of 500 people or more, and said venues with a capacity under 500 will be limited to 50% occupancy.

New York state has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., behind only Washington state, according to Johns Hopkins University's database. As of Sunday, New York has seen 744 confirmed coronavirus cases and six deaths, with 329 of those cases are in New York City.

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