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New York City Declares a State of Emergency as Coronavirus Cases Nearly Double in a Day

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a declaration of emergency on Thursday afternoon amid rising numbers of confirmed Covid-19 cases across all five boroughs. “The last 24 hours have been very sobering,” he said. “Yesterday morning feels like a long time ago.” The decision frees up resources and streamlines the processes for city…

New York City Declares a State of Emergency as Coronavirus Cases Nearly Double in a Day

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a declaration of emergency on Thursday afternoon amid rising numbers of confirmed Covid-19 cases across all five boroughs.

“The last 24 hours have been very sobering,” he said. “Yesterday morning feels like a long time ago.”

The decision frees up resources and streamlines the processes for city agencies to request additional funding, such as emergency food contracts for the Department of Social Services.

There were 95 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the city on Thursday, 42 more than they had on Wednesday, he said. As of noon, Manhattan and Brooklyn each had about 25 cases, in addition to 17 cases in Queens, 10 in the Bronx, and 5 in Staten Island.

The city is predicting it could have 1,000 cases by the end of next week.

“Things are moving very, very quickly,” the mayor said. “We are getting extraordinary new information on what feels like an hourly basis.”

“We have to fully understand that this is the shape of things to come,” he added.

The declaration gives de Blasio authority to slash the legal occupancy of bars and restaurants in the city in half.

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He read off a list of other potential actions that the emergency declaration authorizes him to take:

  • Establish a curfew
  • Regulate where vehicles can enter or leave specific parts of the city
  • Close down public transit
  • Order hospitals to postpone elected procedures
  • Ration supplies or impose restrictions on price gouging
  • Suspend or limit the sales of alcohol, firearms, or explosives
  • Restrict people from being on streets or in public places
  • Regulate or close public spaces
  • Create or designate emergency shelters

The press conference came hours after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on gatherings of 500 people or more. Large venues, like certain music venues or sports arenas, will remain shuttered “until it’s acceptable” — adding that he suspects “that will be a number of months. “

“We will be working with the state to enforce that new rule,” said De Blasio.

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