The White House on Monday pushed back on reports that the administration is considering imposing a national curfew.
“This is not true!” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere wrote in response to a CNN report claiming that the administration was engaged in active discussions about encouraging a curfew across the country, meaning non-essential businesses would have to close by a designated time every evening.
“This is not correct,” Katie Miller, press secretary to Vice President Mike Pence tweeted about the same report.
“That’s not even in the realm of things we’re asking governors for,” Miller said. “There are a lot of rumors. I promise you, I’m sitting in every single meeting … so I can give you guys a yes or no.”
“Rumors of a national lockdown or national quarantine recently shared via text message are FAKE,” read a tweet from the official White House Twitter account.
❌Rumors of a national lockdown or national quarantine recently shared via text message are FAKE.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 16, 2020
The White House’s statements come as some state and local governments take drastic steps to reduce the spread of the coronavirus by ordering many public places shuttered until further notice. New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut on Monday agreed on a “common set of rules” for the tri-state area: banning gatherings of more than 50 people and ordering bars and restaurants closed except for take-out orders. Public schools in all three states will also be closed.
On Sunday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, went further and called for a statewide curfew, encouraging New Jersey’s 9 million residents not to leave their homes from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
“I saw too many videos last night of packed bars, people passing bottles drinking from the same bottle, literally globbed on top of each other,” Murphy said. “In short of shutting the entire state down, clipping establishments by a number of hours each night in particular we believe will have a meaningful, positive outcome in terms of social distancing.”
Curfews have already been implemented in New Jersey’s Hoboken and Puerto Rico.
As of Monday, the U.S. had 3,600 cases of people who tested positive for the coronavirus, a respiratory illness that originated in China, and 61 people have died.