ARMONK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Scores of Tri-State Area businesses were forced to shut their doors Monday night as part of a regional effort to contain the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump issued stricter guidelines to stop the spread of the disease, including telling Americans to avoid gathering of more than 10 people.
On Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced the closure of all public schools and universities as New Jersey experienced a jump of 80 new cases, bringing his state’s total to 178.
New York now has 950 confirmed coronavirus cases in in state, with 463 in the New York City and 220 in Westchester. Connecticut has 41 as of 5 p.m. on Monday.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said the states are working together in hopes of encouraging people to stay home and practice social distancing.
“We are adopting the same policies, so there is no benefit to try to shop New York vs. Connecticut vs. New Jersey,” Cuomo said.
Starting at 8 p.m., most restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and casinos must close until further notice. Restaurants and bars that serve food will still be allowed to fulfill to-go or delivery orders.
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Cuomo said the goal is to limit gatherings of 50 people or more.
The governor also demanded the federal government come up with a set of national guidelines for schools, businesses and travel. He called the current situation “chaos” that “feeds the feeling that the country is out of control.”
“It is also counterproductive, because then what it does, it allows what I call state shopping,” he added. “In other words, you don’t like the rules in New York, well then you go to Pennsylvania… That is the last thing you want.”
Essential businesses, like grocery stores and pharmacies, will be allowed to stay open. Murphy said New Jersey’s online betting will also continue.
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CBS2’s Tony Aiello spoke with businesses owners in Westchester County about the changes.
Broadway North Pizza in Armonk was preparing to follow the orders.
“We have to do it. There’s only one way to do it, and that’s the right way,” said Armando Coyotl. “We’re looking to get over with this. If we have to do it for a week or two, we do it.”
Armonk Country Kitchen saw where the situation was headed and switched to take-out only several days ago, telling customers “social distancing” would help “flatten the curve.” Their chairs and tables were pushed aside. Who knows when they’ll be filled with guests again.
“I think most people are pretty sensible about what’s going on, understand that this is something that has to be done. What are you going to do?” said Joshua Horowitz. “This is the first time we’ve had an opportunity to slow something like this down. It’s incredible.”
The “do not dine in” order will have a big impact on Amore restaurant in Armonk. The owners said they will furlough all the servers and bartenders starting Monday night.
“As soon as we got word from the governor, I sat our team down. They’ve been loyal to us. We have to be loyal back. I sat them down and I explained we expect the furlough, closure, for at least two weeks. So we committed to giving our bartenders and servers two weeks salary,” Amore’s Mark Mazzotta said.
Mazzotta said if the furlough is extended, employees can put in for two weeks paid vacation.
While the restaurant goes delivery and take-out only, the owners don’t think they’ll take the governor up on his offer allowing alcohol to go.
“I’m not comfortable allowing liquor alcohol off premise. I feel like that’s a liability we wouldn’t want to take on. Just gonna continue to do the food, the pizza, and serve the community the best we can,” Mazzotta said.
Aiello listened to the governors’ conference call with Randi Fineberg, manager of Armonk Wines and Spirits. She was relieved her retail outlet can remain open for now.
“Our customers want us to stay open, for sure. But more importantly, people are just generally concerned about their day-to-day,” she said.
Cuomo instructed the state liquor board to let wineries and distilleries sell their products off-premises and the parks department to waive access fees.
“You really do need to take this seriously. When’s the last time in your lifetime that all restaurants were told to close? You couldn’t go to the movies? To the gym? If that doesn’t wake people up and say, ‘Hey, this is a problem, pay attention,’ then they’re just not listening,” Westchester County Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler said.