As coronavirus continues to spread across the country, several cities and states have issued harsher restrictions on restaurants and bars, New York City and Los Angeles among them.
On Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all restaurants and bars must close their dining areas and limit business to takeout and delivery. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Hoboken, New Jersey, Mayor Ravi Bhalla imposed the same rule for their cities.
“This is not a decision I make lightly,” de Blasio said in a statement. “These places are 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. We will come through this, but until we do, we must make whatever sacrifices necessary to help our fellow New Yorkers.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered the closure of restaurants in five counties, which includes Pittsburgh. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell ordered that restaurants close by 9 p.m. and cut capacity by 50 percent.
Governors in Illinois, Washington, Massachusetts, Indiana, Michigan, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Ohio decided to limit restaurants and bars to takeout and delivery across their entire states. California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered bars, breweries, and wineries to close. Restaurants in California may continue to operate normally, but must cut capacity by 50 percent.
“Our goal is for everyone to get through this,” said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. “Our hope is that next St. Patrick’s Day, everyone will be there and that they’ll have the opportunity to live their life and live their American dream. But, if people are not around, they can’t do that.”
Danny Meyer, founder of Union Square Hospitality Group, decided to close his restaurants in New York City. Seattle Chef Tom Douglas said he is closing 12 of his 13 restaurants where sales have dropped 90 percent since the outbreak, according to the Seattle Times.
Each of the decisions were made prior to St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday in which millions of Americans crowd bars and restaurants in celebration.
The CDC recommended on Sunday the temporary banning of gatherings of 50 or more people. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested that a stricter lockdown may need to be put in place in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“I think Americans should be prepared that they are going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing,” Fauci said.
As of Monday morning, there have been more than 3,400 COVID-19 cases and at least 65 deaths.