Amid what they described as a lack of federal direction and nationwide standards, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a regional approach to combatting the novel strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the tristate area.
The uniform standards will limit crowd capacity for social and recreational gatherings to 50 people, effective 8 p.m. Monday, March 16, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said in a morning conference call with the news media.
This follows updated guidance that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Sunday, March 15 recommending the cancellation or postponement of in-person events consisting of 50 people or more.
The three governors also announced restaurants and bars will close for on premise service and move to take-out and delivery services only. These establishments will be provided a waiver for carry-out alcohol. These measures will take effect at 8 p.m. Monday.
The governors said they will temporarily close movie theaters, gyms and casinos, effective at 8 p.m. tonight.
This uniform approach to social distancing is meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
"Our primary goal right now is to slow the spread of this virus so that the wave of new infections doesn't crash our healthcare system, and everyone agrees social distancing is the best way to do that," Cuomo said. "This is not a war that can be won alone, which is why New York is partnering with our neighboring states to implement a uniform standard that not only keeps our people safe but also prevents 'state shopping' where residents of one state travel to another and vice versa.
"I have called on the federal government to implement nationwide protocols but in their absence we are taking this on ourselves."
Murphy said, "With all we are seeing in our state - and across our nation and around the world - the time for us to take our strongest, and most direct, actions to date to slow the spread of coronavirus is now.
"I've said many times over the past several days that, in our state, we are going to get through this as one New Jersey family. But if we're all in this together, we must work with our neighboring states to act together. The work against coronavirus isn't just up to some of us, it's up to all of us."
Lamont said, "The only way to effectively fight the spread of COVID-19 is by working together as states. We have shared interests, and a patchwork of closures and restrictions is not the best way forward. I know that because of this collaboration, we will save lives."
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