NYC to put new restrictions on bars and restaurants, close most entertainment venues

Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioAs Trump steps back in the spotlight, will Cuomo exit stage left? NY lawmakers agree to strip Cuomo of pandemic-related emergency powers The Memo: Cuomo's fall raises questions for media MORE (D) on Sunday announced he would sign an executive order limiting all New York City bars and restaurants to delivery and takeout as well as requiring many entertainment venues to temporarily shut down as the city tries to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

"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," de Blasio said in a statement on Twitter.

"Nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses, and concert venues must all close," he added.


De Blasio plans to sign the executive order on Monday, and the measures will go into effect on Tuesday at 9 a.m.

The announcement follows a press conference earlier in the day in which de Blasio said all New York City schools would be shutting down. It was the latest in a string of closures that have swept the country on Sunday, with Illinois, Ohio, California, Nevada and Massachusetts all announcing various measures to help combat COVID-19 by minimizing human interaction.

"This is not a decision I make lightly," de Blasio said. "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."

The mayor's announcement also comes shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance calling for the cancellation of events of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. 

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has approached 3,000, while the death toll has nearly reached 60. 

Vice President Pence and other Trump administration officials on Sunday said they would have expanded coronavirus testing capabilities up and running by sometime this week, after heavy criticism over what many say is the White House's sluggish response to the pandemic.