As new cases of the coronavirus soar across the United States, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that the city will postpone indoor dining for an indefinite period of time.
“Now is not the time to forge ahead” with those reopening plans, de Blasio said in a press conference on Wednesday, citing rises cases of the virus linked to indoor transmission at bars and restaurants.
One bar in Michigan, for instance, has been linked to 85 coronavirus cases, NBC News reported Monday; in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at least 100 people tested positive after visiting bars in a popular nightlife district, the New York Times reported.
De Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised concerns about the issue on Monday, ahead of the decision.
New Jersey has also postponed the resumption of indoor dining, originally slated to resume on Thursday.
“We have seen spikes in other states driven in part by the return of patrons to indoor dining establishments, where they are seated and without face coverings for significant periods of time,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday. “We do not wish to see New Jersey experience a similar spike.”
Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that all bars in the state must close (though they can remain open for take out and delivery); Florida, Maine, and California have issued similar guidelines.
Wednesday’s announcement is the latest in a series of pauses, rollbacks, and new restrictions as many states—even those like New York, which has seen coronavirus cases fall dramatically in recent weeks—grapple with alarming evidence that the virus outbreak is getting worse. As of Tuesday, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will require a 14-day quarantine period for people traveling from 16 states with high rates of the virus.