Washington State and NYC Restrict Restaurants To Take-Out Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 14: A man eats lunch in a deserted restaurant on March 14, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
March 15, 2020 11:12 p.m.
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Bars and restaurants in New York City and Washington State will be restricted to delivery and take-out alone, and theaters will be closed completely, as the city and state fight an uphill battle on separate coasts against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news of the New York City closures came from Mayor Bill de Blasio Sunday night, hours after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that public schools in the city and in several other counties would be closed in order to slow the disease’s spread.

Soon after, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced similar restrictions for his state, to be signed in an executive order on Monday. (Inslee announced Friday that schools statewide would be closed.)

The restrictions on New York City eateries — and the shutting down of theaters, clubs and concert venues — will go into effect on Tuesday at 9 a.m., de Blasio said in a statement.

“The virus can spread rapidly through the close interactions New Yorkers have in restaurants, bars and places where we sit close together,” he said. “We have to break that cycle.”

According to the mayor’s office, there were 329 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city as of Sunday afternoon.

The moves to restrict or shut down businesses echoed similar measures taken in cities and states hardest hit by the virus: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered all bars and restaurants in the state closed on Sunday as well — with only 37 confirmed cases in the state.

Illinois bars and restaurants were ordered to end dine-in service as well, though not before throngs of St. Patrick’s Day weekend revelers stuffed into bars across Chicago.

Gov. Charlie Baker did the same in Massachusetts, shutting bars and restaurants, except for delivery and take-out, for three weeks. California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered bars and nightclubs closed, and said restaurants will be required to cut occupancy in half.

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