Governor Andrew Cuomo (photo) today declared a statewide State of Emergency, and Mayor Bill de Blasio has followed with a citywide one. The Daily News reports that these declarations, which go into effect at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, March 13) prohibit “events of more than 500 people” in “areas, concert halls and houses of worship.” What isn’t clear is if this applies to any event scheduled in a venue, such as a house of worship, that is capable of accommodating more than 500 people, even if less than that number of people are expected or allowed to attend. There are several houses of worship in Brooklyn Heights that are capable of accommodating more than 500. The Daily News story quotes the Governor as saying, “Venues with gatherings of less than 500 people — including bars and restaurants — can only be filled to 50% capacity under the ban.” It will be interesting to see how this is enforced. Does it mean that houses of worship, of whatever size, can never be more than half full for a service?
Hospitals, schools, and mass transit are not affected by the ban, but nursing homes are. No visitors will be allowed in nursing homes, but the Daily News quotes Cuomo as saying individual homes may make exceptions for family members to visit residents who are critically ill or near death, but such visitors must wear protective gear.
For more detail please read the Daily News story linked above.