Mayor de Blasio: New Virus Restrictions Will Be Announced Soon

NEW YORK (AP) -
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky/File)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday he will announce new restrictions on gatherings to halt the spread of the new coronavirus in the coming days but but he hopes to avoid closing all public events.

“I don’t want to [close public events] if we can avoid it,” de Blasio said on CNN. “I want to see if we can strike some kind of balance.”

A part-time usher and security guard who worked at two theaters in recent days tested positive for COVID-19 and is under quarantine.

The mayor spoke hours after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that a large New York parade would be postponed for the first time ever. De Blasio tweeted Wednesday that the parade will take place at some future date “whether it’s in the heat of summer or on a clear fall day.”

De Blasio said the city has 62 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday morning. There are more than 200 cases statewide, with the largest cluster in the suburb of New Rochelle north of New York City.

The new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness including pneumonia.

As it spreads around the globe, the virus has prompted quarantines and restrictions on gatherings.

De Blasio said in a statement that two public schools that share a building in the Bronx will close for 24 hours because a student tested positive for COVID-19.

But the mayor said on CNN that he hopes to avoid drastic measures such as shutting the city’s entire public school system or its subways.

“I’m a believer that we have to be careful not to destroy people’s livelihoods, not to destroy the opportunity for our kids to be in a safe place learning every day in school,” he said. “And yet we’re going to have to introduce more and more restrictions, which we’re certainly going to be doing in New York City today and tomorrow.”