By Mike Adams and Marco Schaden
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday morning that all gatherings of more than 50 people in the state will be suspended until further notice, the latest in a series of crowd-control efforts aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.
“There will be no more gatherings of 50-plus people, so if you were hoping to plan a graduation party you can’t do it in the state of New York,” Cuomo said at a press conference. “Stay home and order from your favorite restaurant, order from your favorite bar or whatever establishment that you were thinking of patronizing. Just order it and stay home.”
As of 8 p.m. on Monday, March 16, all bars, restaurants, movie theaters, casinos and gyms in the state are closed until further notice by order of the governor, although facilities with take-out services may still supply them. These efforts are part of the latest batch of measures being taken at every level of government and society to help “flatten the curve” of the exponential growth in new cases of COVID-19 appearing as testing for the virus becomes more widely available. These measures are also in effect in New Jersey and Connecticut, a coordinated effort by the governors to prevent what Cuomo called “state shopping,” or the movement of people to states with less restrictive policies in place.
As of Monday, there are more than 90 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nassau County and more than 700 in the state. So far, three people in New York have died as a result of COVID-19, each an elderly person with pre-existing respiratory or immune-system issues. Nationwide, the virus has infected at least 3,606 and killed at least 66.
Leaders at all levels of government have taken extraordinary measures to help promote safety as confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to climb. States of emergency have been declared by the federal government, New York State, Nassau County, the Town of North Hempstead and several local villages. The states of emergency allow for the executives in each respective government division to act more swiftly to implement necessary measures, and free up emergency funding to help governments provide necessary services.
“The health and safety of everyone in our town is of paramount importance,” Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “We care deeply about our residents and want to make sure we are taking every precaution possible.”
North Hempstead also announced that all town facilities would be temporarily closed until Monday, March 30.
All evictions in Nassau County have been suspended temporarily. All Northwell Health hospitals, including North Shore University Hospital, have temporarily suspended elective surgeries. The Northwell laboratory in Lake Success has received approval to test for COVID-19, and that facility is expected to be joined by more in the coming weeks.
One of the reasons so much policy on the matter has come from the state, Cuomo said, is due to what he called a lack of leadership on the federal level. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently recommended suspending gatherings of more than 50 people.
“This is a national problem and we need federal leadership,” Cuomo said. “It cannot be done in a piecemeal manner. You need federal parameters to stop the national patchwork of density reduction. You see a whole hodgepodge of efforts being taken across the country. It’s chaos, I think it actually feeds the feeling that the country is out of control.”
Late Monday night, Cuomo also announced that all village elections on March 18 in New York State would be postponed to April 28, the same day as the state’s presidential primary.
Experts and officials at all levels of government recommend people wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, avoid public places whenever possible, cover their mouths when they cough and stay at least six feet away from others to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Anyone who believes they have been in close contact with somebody carrying the virus should contact a doctor, and anybody who can remain at home is advised to do so for 14 days.
Visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov for the most up-to-date information on the coronavirus and how best to protect yourself and your family.