New York City (NYC) has been put on notice: Prepare for a potential shelter-in-place order to be handed down within 48 hours. This was the message from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in a news briefing today.
“I think New Yorkers should be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order,” de Blasio said. “It has not happened yet but it is definitely a possibility at this point. I believe that decision should be made in the next 48 hours, and it’s a very, a very difficult decision.”
Ultimately, the decision to put a shelter-in-place order into effect is up to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The governor’s rapid response: “The emergency policies that have been issued are of statewide impact, and the governor is making every effort to coordinate these policies with our surrounding states,” Cuomo’s office said via press release. “Any blanket quarantine or shelter-in-place policy would require state action and as the governor has said, there is no consideration of that for any locality at this time.”
Coronavirus in New York
As of this afternoon, New York City has 923 cases of Coronavirus; 10 people have died. In the press conference, de Blasio said, “We are certainly going to have thousands of cases next week. It is not that long before we hit 10,000 cases, that is a true statement.”
Discussion of New York enacting shelter-in-place comes on the heels of San Francisco placing six major Northern California counties, and approximately seven million residents, under such edicts.
Steps NYC has already taken include closing all schools for at least five weeks, shuttering all theaters, gyms, and casinos, limiting gatherings to less than 50 people and limiting bars and restaurants to take-out service only.
Moves have already been made to the anticipated need for medical attention in NYC. Cuomo has said cases in the city are likely to peak in the next 45 days, which will lead to a shortage of hospital beds. Per PEOPLE magazine, “New York has around 53,000 hospital beds and 3,000 intensive care beds. If COVID-19 peaks at that time, they would need 55,000 to 110,000 hospital beds and 18,600 to 37,000 intensive care beds.”
An executive order to increase hospital capacity in New York has been made by Cuomo’s office, with the Army Corps of Engineers being called on to build temporary medical facilities.
What “Shelter-in-Place” Means
CNN reported on what the shelter-in-place order means for San Francisco residents:
‘There, city officials ordered residents to remain in place at their homes except for essential activities, essential business, and essential government functions, including:
- Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor.
- Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, such as getting food and supplies, pet food and supplies necessary for staying at home.
- Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running provided that they maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing.
- Caring for a family member in another household.
- Caring for elderly, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or other vulnerable persons.
The shelter-in-place order also does not apply to those going to work in an essential business or essential government function. That includes:
- Health care operations, including home health workers.
- Essential Infrastructure, including construction of housing and operation of public transportation and utilities.
- Grocery stores, farmers’ markets, food banks, convenience stores.
- Businesses that provide necessities of life for economically disadvantaged individuals and shelter facilities.
- Pharmacies, health care supply stores, and health care facilities.
- Gas stations and auto repair facilities.
- Garbage collection.
- Hardware stores, plumbers, electricians and other service providers necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences and other essential businesses.
- Educational institutions, for the purposes of facilitating distance learning.
- Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers.
- Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, and goods directly to residences.
- Child care facilities providing services that enable essential employees to go to work.
- Roles required for any essential business to “maintain basic operations,” which include security, payroll and similar activities.”
For NYC residents, this could soon be their reality, as well.