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NY, NJ, CT ban gatherings of over 50 people; bars, gyms and other businesses to close

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Posted at 10:24 AM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 23:37:42-04

NEW YORK — The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have joined together to institute a tri-state area ban on gatherings of more than 50 people in an effort to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

"Coming up with the same rules is imperative," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "We're all in the same area ... so we have agreed to a common set of rules that will pertain in all of our states."

Gyms, movie theaters and casinos will close at 8 p.m. Monday and remain closed until further notice, according to the governors. Bars and restaurants will also close at 8 p.m. but will be allowed to offer take-out services. Online gambling, which is legal in New Jersey, will continue, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

"Hopefully I can coordinate with the other governors so that we can have the same opening period," Cuomo added.

Watch Cuomo's news conference below:

The 50-person crowd limit follows new CDC guidelines that were announced Sunday night.

The tri-state area restrictions encourage social distancing, which helps slow the spread of coronavirus.

"If you have any options at all, stay home. If you're over 60-70, stay home. If your grandchild wants to visit you, stay home and say you're going to learn how to FaceTime," Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The governors also called on the Trump administration to institute sweeping social distancing measures for the entire country.

"States don't have the capacity or the power to make up for the federal government," Cuomo said. "We really need the federal government to do what it's supposed to be doing."

Cuomo and Murphy also issued guidance on avoiding non-essential travel between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.