New York City mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday announced the closure of all bars and restaurants in the city except for takeout services, as well as the closure of the city’s public-school district, which is the largest school in the nation, in response to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
The public-school closures could have an especially drastic effect on city residents because of the large number of students who rely on schools for daily hot meals. (Roughly one in ten New York City public school students are considered homeless.) Superintendent Richard Carranza indicated that students in need of a free breakfast and lunch will be able to pick up meals from school during at least this week.
“To say the least, this is a very troubling moment, a moment where I am just distraught at having to take this action,” de Blasio said at a Sunday press conference. “But I became convinced over the course of today that there was no other choice.”
In addition to schools, restaurants, and bars, other public venues such as movie theaters and nightclubs were ordered to close their doors.
“This 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.”