In a sign of things inevitably to come to New Jersey, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday night that he is issuing an executive order that will close all nightclubs, movie theaters, small theaters and concert venues, effective 9 a.m. Tuesday.
In addition, de Blasio said all restaurants, bars and cafes will be limited to food takeout and delivery.
Many municipalities in New Jersey have taken similar measures. Gov. Phil Murphy is scheduled to make an announcement at 2 p.m. Monday regarding “extensive social distancing measures to mitigate further spread of COVID-19.”
Murphy already has said he plans to shut schools Tuesday and order all state employees to work from home, if possible, starting Wednesday.
De Blasio said his executive order is part of the new reality facing the country.
His statement, released late Sunday night:
Our lives are all changing in ways that were unimaginable just a week ago. We are taking a series of actions that we never would have taken otherwise in an effort to save the lives of loved ones and our neighbors.
“Now, it is time to take yet another drastic step. 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 takeout and delivery. Nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses and concert venues must all close. The order will go into effect Tuesday, March 17, at 9:00 a.m.
“This is not a decision I make lightly. 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.
“We will come through this, but until we do, we must make whatever sacrifices necessary to help our fellow New Yorkers.”