NEW YORK (WABC) -- All New York City bars and restaurants are now limited to takeout and delivery only in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was set to sign an executive order Monday shutting bars and restaurants effective Tuesday, but that was nullified by an agreement between the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut agreeing to a set of shared restrictions in the wake of the spreading coronavirus.
Governors Andrew Cuomo, Phil Murphy and Ned Lamont said adopting the same rules is imperative in preventing people from violating social conditions necessary to keep everyone safe.
As a result, gatherings of more than 50 people are no longer permitted, and all bars, restaurants gyms, movie theaters and casinos closed for the foreseeable future beginning at 8 p.m. Monday.
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Restaurants offering take-out and delivery have been granted a waiver for take-out alcohol, and online gambling is allowed to continue in New Jersey.
"We have agreed to a set of rules, so don't even think about going to a neighboring state because there is a different set of conditions," Cuomo said. "I believe we are the only region in the country to do that."
New York City officials had already barred gatherings of more than 500 in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19.
But the city took the more drastic step when it became clear that patrons at many restaurants were still packed tightly together in defiance of recommended "social distancing" guidelines.
The virus that has stricken tens of thousands around the globe causes only mild symptoms for the majority of the people who become infected but can be deadly for some, especially older adults and people with certain health conditions such as respiratory illness.
"Our lives are all changing in ways that were unimaginable just a week ago," de Blasio said. "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."
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Coronavirus Update: New York City restaurants, bars limited to takeout, delivery only