|Mayor de Blasio Facebook Page Screenshot|
Statement of Mayor Bill de Blasio
March 12, 2020.
"As a result of the community spread we're declaring a state of emergency in New York City. There are a lot of rumors at a time like this, so here are the simple facts:
We have 95 confirmed cases of COVID-19. We know that’s going to grow quickly. We are taking new precautions that every New Yorker will feel in their daily lives. We're in agreement with the state to enforce a rule barring large gatherings of 500 or more people. This will affect parades, rallies, sporting events, conferences and performance venues. For most venues this will begin 5 PM on Friday. For Broadway theaters it began tonight. There will be restrictions on establishments and venues with capacity under 500 persons that require them to cut occupancy in half to increase social distancing.
None of us wanted to take these actions. This crisis could easily be a six month crisis and the recovery from it could take a long time. We didn't do this lightly, but it was necessary. The human impact will be extensive. We will provide free legal help to anyone facing evictions and provide short term support. If necessary we will also be activating emergency food contracts and community organizations will increase food aid for lower-income New Yorkers. We are dealing with something we've never seen in our lives. We are calling on the federal government to provide additional relief for our residents, whose lives have and will be upended. Americans could be facing a half a year without work. We need to see action now.
NYC public schools 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. 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. Keeping people safe and informed will be our top priority. There are non-essential school activities we will either cancel or find new solutions for. PSAL games and practices, school assemblies, plays and recitals will be cancelled. Parent-teacher conferences and PTA meetings will be done by phone or web based when possible.
This is our new reality and it won't be over soon. But I know New Yorkers. I know we will fight back, support each other and get through this together. We will prevail.
Please continue to monitor nyc.gov/coronavirus and text COVID to 692-692 for real time updates from twitter.com/NotifyNYC."