New York bans most gatherings of more than 500 people.
Life for New Yorkers will change dramatically on Friday night, when restrictions that limit public gatherings go into effect in an extraordinary step to fight the growing outbreak of the coronavirus.
On Thursday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York placed an indefinite ban on most gatherings of more than 500 people and commanded smaller spaces, like restaurants and bars, to slash their occupancy by half.
The restrictions took immediate effect in Broadway theaters on Thursday but will spread to a broader set of venues at 5 p.m., striking a blow to New York City’s typically bustling hospitality industry as it heads into the weekend.
Mr. Cuomo’s decision to limit gatherings of more than 500 people was an especially heavy blow to the live theater business, a crown jewel of New York City’s tourist trade. Last season, the industry drew 14.8 million patrons and grossed $1.8 billion.THE
Under the guidance announced by Mr. Cuomo, gatherings of fewer than 500 people will still be allowed.
Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency on Thursday. Among the steps the mayor said the city could take under a state of emergency were ordering people off the streets, rationing supplies, imposing curfews and closing the street to vehicles, he said. None of those steps is imminent.
In the wake of the declaration, a leading candidate in the race for Queens Borough President said the scheduled special election should be postponed in order to protect people’s health.
Councilman Donovan Richards of southeast Queens said in a statement Friday morning that the voting process, which is set to begin tomorrow and run through March 24, should be postponed because numerous polling sites were located in nursing homes and schools.
A spokesman for Mr. Cuomo, who has authority to modify election rules, did not immediately comment. Mr. de Blasio said on Thursday that the election would proceed as scheduled.
As of Thursday afternoon, there were 328 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, with 148 in Westchester County and 95 in New York City, officials said.
On Friday morning, Mayor Steven Fulop of Jersey City announced that the city had its first presumptive positive case of coronavirus.