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'Wartime Mentality': New York City To Close All Schools, Restaurants, Movie Theatres

New York City's mayor Bill de Blasio has announced schools, restaurants, movie theatres and concert halls will close in response to COVID-19, telling residents "we need to treat this like wartime".

As the U.S. increasingly prepares for the coronavirus pandemic, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the nation's largest public school system will close.

Mayor De Blasio said they would close Monday and would reopen April 20 at the earliest.

A man wearing a hazmat suit and a mask holds a sign reading the end is near -call grandma at Times Square on March 14, 2020 in New York City. Image: Getty

De Blasio also announced that all restaurants in the city will be limited to delivery or take-out orders, and venues such as movie theatres and concert halls will be temporarily closed beginning Tuesday at 9 am local time.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has ordered all bars and restaurants in the state to close. The move will affect the nation's third-largest city, Chicago.

"I cannot let the gravity of the choices prevent us from taking the actions that the science and the experts say will keep people safe," Pritzker said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates to nearly zero to prop up the economy during the pandemic.

A view of the The Rink at Rockefeller Center (14 March 2020) as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States. Image: Getty

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If you have a baby, you may be worried about them catching the coronavirus, particularly after media reports of an Australian infant diagnosed with it.

On Saturday night, weary travellers who returned to the U.S. amid coronavirus-related travel restrictions were greeted with packed, hours-long waits for required medical screenings at airports.

Posts on social media indicated passengers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport waited upward of four hours in winding lines, eliciting criticism from elected Illinois officials.

MARCH 14: A face mask decorates a street mannequin used to sell hats in New York City. Image: Getty
A normally very busy Times Square is nearly empty on March 12, 2020 in New York City. Image: Getty

Pritzker tweeted at President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, noting that the customs process is under federal jurisdiction and demanding they take action to address the crowds.

Pritzker said that he had spoken to Pence and Chad Wolf, the acting homeland security secretary, who told him the government was boosting staffing at the airport. The governor said the development was "welcome news."

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Given the noise around coronavirus it can be hard to distinguish what advice to take, especially if you're experiencing symptoms, are returning from abroad or have had contact with someone who has the disease.

While U.S. citizens, green card holders and some others are allowed to return home, travellers from Europe are being funnelled to one of 13 U.S. airports where they're subject to health screenings and quarantine orders.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide topped 156,000 by Sunday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 5,800 people have died, and nearly 74,000 have recovered.

  • Reporting by CBS News