The Slatest

NYC and L.A. Close Bars and Theaters, Restrict Restaurants to Takeout and Delivery in Attempt to Slow the Spread of the Coronavirus

A bartender in a white jacket and black tie serves a customer at the bar in the new room at the Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood.
The New Room at Musso & Frank. Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

Following in the footsteps of Ohio, Illinois, and Massachusetts earlier in the day, officials in New York City and Los Angeles both announced that they were closing their cities’ bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday afternoon that restaurants would be limited to takeout and delivery, and bars that do not serve food must close entirely. The order goes into effect at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. “These places are part of the heart and soul of our city. They are part of what it means to be a New Yorker,” de Blasio said. “But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality.”

New York City’s public schools will begin shutting down on Monday. De Blasio has asked school officials to develop plans to offer child care for parents in essential industries who must continue to work during the pandemic and feed children who depended on the schools to provide meals. Some schools will be reopening as soon as March 23 to serve vulnerable populations and students with special needs, but the rest of the system will not reopen until April 20 at the earliest.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city would be taking similar measures on a tighter timeline: Garcetti announced late Sunday night that all bars and nightclubs would be closed, effective at midnight. The city is also shuttering movie theaters and gyms and requiring restaurants to go to takeout and delivery service only. “Our city is not shutting down: we’re not planning to and we never will,” Garcetti said during a press conference announcing the new measures:

On Friday, Los Angeles announced a two-week closure of its public school system, beginning Monday. As of Sunday night, the 14 largest school districts in the country have announced closures or extended their spring breaks in hopes of slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. The largest public school system that has not yet closed, the Dallas Independent School District, is on spring break until March 23, and the district says it will make an announcement about returning to classes on March 19. In the meantime, it’s doing its best to reassure parents the schools will be safe when they return:

Asked Sunday about the odds of resuming in-person classes on schedule, Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa said, “It’s not looking good.”