New York, March 18 (IANS) As a semi-lockdown went into effect in Silicon Valley to combat the spread of coronavirus, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he is considering similar restrictions for the metropolis of 8.5 million people.
With 814 cases reported in the largest US city, de Blasio said at a Tuesday news conference that he may follow Silicon Valley and issue a Stay in Place order in 48 hours.
The Shelter in Place order, which is somewhat less drastic than a lockdown, went into effect on Tuesday in six California counties that are home to headquarters of tech giants like Google and Facebook and will be in place till April 7.
All but essential workers have to work from home and restrict travel under the Shelter in Place, although they can go on errands like shopping for household goods and can take walks and jogs if they keep the “social distance” of about two metres to prevent contagion.
Restaurants are allowed to serve deliveries and takeouts only.
De Blasio said he compared the restrictions and the Italian lockdown is more stringent than Shelter in Place.
The aim of a Shelter in Place order is to limit contacts among people to prevent the spread of infection.
However, New York State Governor Andrew has said that cities cannot order quarantines on their own.
New York State, like many other states and municipalities, have shut down bars and restaurants, except for takeouts and delivery, theatres and cinemas. Many art galleries, museums and libraries have also closed around the country.
Schools and universities have shut down and instead offer online education.
There are few tourists coming to New York from abroad because of the travel restrictions and from other areas within the US due to coronavirus fears. This has been a blow to the city’s economy.
The New York St Patrick’s Day Parade was cancelled on Tuesday for the first time in 250 years. One of the biggest celebrations in the city, the annual parade draws a crowd of about 150,000 people.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected])