New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered the closing of the city's public school system, the largest in the nation with 1.1 million students, to stop to spread of the coronavirus.
"I'm very, very concerned that we see a rapid spread of this disease, and it's time to take more dramatic measures," de Blasio said on Sunday. "This is a decision I have taken with no joy and a lot of pain."
The mayor has also ordered the closing all movie theaters in the city as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The mass closure also includes nightclubs, small theater houses, and concert venues will all close while restaurants will be limited to takeout and delivery.
"Our lives are all changing in ways that were unimaginable just a week ago. We are taking a series of actions that we never would have taken otherwise in an effort to save the lives of loved ones and our neighbors. Now it is time to take yet another drastic step," he tweeted.
He added, "The virus can spread rapidly through the close interactions New Yorkers have in restaurants, bars and places where we sit close together. We have to break that cycle. Tomorrow, I will sign an Executive Order limiting restaurants, bars and cafes to food take-out and delivery. Nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses, and concert venues must all close.
The order will go into effect Tuesday, March 17, at 9:00 AM.
"This is not a decision I make lightly," he confessed. "These places are part of 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."