NEW YORK - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared a state of emergency amid the growing outbreak of the novel coronavirus. More than 300 people in New York State are infected with the virus. Of them, nearly 100 are New York City residents, according to the latest count released by the state. There have been 42 new cases in the city in the past 24 hours.
De Blasio said the growing number of coronavirus cases in the city is "striking and troubling." However, he said that public schools would stay open because they "are essential."
"And they are remaining open, even as we cut back non-essential activity in school buildings. So many kids rely on them for meals. Parents need them so they can go to work. And every student relies on them to learn," the mayor said. "We'll make any individual school closure decisions on a case-by-case basis. We'll give as much notice to parents and staff as we can, and work to reopen as soon as possible."
De Blasio said certain school-related activities are canceled or will happen remotely.
"PSAL games and practices, school assemblies, plays, and recitals will be canceled," he said. "Parent-teacher conferences and PTA meetings will be done by phone or web-based when possible."
De Blasio once again called on private businesses to encourage as many employees as possible to either work from home or work a staggered schedule to ease crowding on mass transit. He also said that certain employees at city government agencies will be working from home.Gatherings of 500 or more people have been banned until further notice. That means Broadway shows, many concerts, and sporting events are on hiatus.
The Metropolitan Opera canceled performances and rehearsals through March 31.
Carnegie Hall is closing for all public events through the end of March.
The American Museum of Natural History is closed until further notice.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's three locations—The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters—are closed until further notice.
The Museum of Modern Art on 53rd Street in Manhattan, MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens, and the MoMA Design Stores on 53rd Street and in SoHo are closed through March 30.
Chelsea Piers New York (Manhattan), Chelsea Piers Connecticut (Stamford) and Chelsea Piers Fitness (Chelsea and Brooklyn) will be closed through March 31.
Billy Joel rescheduled two spring concerts at Madison Square Garden until later in the year.
The Tribeca Film Festival has also been postponed, co-founder Jane Rosenthal said.
"We founded the Tribeca Film Festival as a way to heal our community after the devastation of the 9/11 attacks in 2001," Rosenthal said. "We were determined to overcome our fear and anxiety by joining together. It is in our DNA to march forward while caring about our community."
The closure of so many New York attractions will have a major economic impact on those industries as well as the business linked to them.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said the council will be looking at creating some sort of fund to help New Yorkers and businesses that will take a financial hit during this crisis.
"There will be an economic impact on places like our theaters and concert venues, movie theaters, gyms and sporting arenas, and not-for-profits. The City must take actions to give them relief," Johnson said in a statement. "The Council will also be coming out with policies to help protect and provide essential services for the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including individuals without homes, prison populations, elderly New Yorkers, senior centers and residents of nursing homes."