New York City mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday said residents should prepare for a possible “shelter in place” order within the next 48 hours, following a similar order in San Francisco, due to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
A shelter in place order, typically used in cases of natural disasters such as hurricanes, forbids residents from leaving home except to meet essential needs such as buying food.
“We are all deeply concerned…this is quite clear this is a fast growing crisis,” de Blasio said at a press conference. “All New Yorkers, even though a decision has not been made by the city or the state, I think that all New Yorkers should be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order.”
The mayor said city residents would be informed of the order during the next two days, and has not yet been confirmed. A statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office also emphasized that the policy would require state approval.
“Any blanket quarantine or shelter in place policy would require State action and as the Governor has said, there is no consideration of that for any locality at this time,” the statement read.
De Blasio indicated that the crisis could last through the summer.
“In terms of the economic dislocation, I think it’s fair to say we are going to quickly surpass anything we saw in the Great Recession and the only measure or the only comparison will be the Great Depression,” de Blasio added.
On Monday, de Blasio ordered the closure of New York City’s public school system, the largest in the nation serving over 1 million students. School kitchens will remain open due to the high amount of students who rely on schools for daily meals. The city also closed all theaters and restaurants, with restaurants remaining open only for take-out services.
Six counties in the San Francisco Bay area initiated their own “shelter in place” orders on Monday evening in order to fight the coronavirus outbreak.