Hoboken First U.S. City to Shut Down Restaurants and Bars and Issue Curfew

Restaurants and bars shut down on Sunday due to the coronavirus. On Monday, a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew becomes effective. According to a Harvard University public health expert, "Hoboken probably is the model we all need to move towards now."

March 16, 2020, 9:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid


Hoboken vanity plates

Matthew Rutledge / Flickr

Updated to similar actions taken by governors and mayors across the country on Sunday.

Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla issued the tweet Saturday evening in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

We are continuing to do everything possible to advance social distancing. To protect health & safety of residents, our [Office of Emergency Management] has directed all bars & restaurants, w/ & w/o a liquor license, to allow for delivery & takeout of food only. OEM is also instituting a curfew from 10pm-5am.

“I think Hoboken probably is the model we all need to move towards now,” said Ashish Jha, M.D., MPH, Professor of Global Health at Harvard University, Dean for Global Strategy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, during an interview with CNN's John King, host of Inside Politics, on Sunday morning.

“I can’t believe I ever would have said that, but here we are—Hoboken is our model.”

Hoboken may have been the first, according to Michelle Mark of Business Insider (source article), but several states and the nation's two most populous cities followed with similar actions, though without the curfew, by Sunday evening, reports Lindsay Schnell for USA TODAY.

In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine said bars and restaurants can stay open for carry-out and delivery but "what we can't have is people congregating and seated."

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said all bars, wineries, brew pubs and nightclubs should close, and asked that those over 65 self-isolate. A few hours after Newsom's suggestion, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he was closing bars, restaurants, nightclubs and "entertainment venues," effective at midnight Sunday until at least March 31. 

Illinois also shut down bars and restaurants to dine-in customers through March 30, a day after thousands gathered in downtown Chicago to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. 

Gov. JB Pritzker said he made the decision after so many state residents ignored the advice of the Centers for Disease Control to "social distance" and self isolate, and instead went out Friday and Saturday. 

In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker ordered all bars and restaurants close starting Tuesday, March 17, and remain closed for a month. 

New York City took similar action late Sunday, ordering all nightclubs, theaters and concert venues to close by Tuesday morning, a dramatic step in the nation's most populous city. Restaurants and bars in the city will also be limited to serving only takeout and delivery customers, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced.

Several other states and cities were mentioned as well. The article ends with the note, "This is a developing story and will be updated."

Sunday, March 15, 2020 in Insider

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