New York, NY – “Today, the City announced we have 53 confirmed Coronavirus cases, many of which occurred through community spread. I have been speaking to leading public health care experts and I believe that we are now at a point where it is necessary to create limits on non-essential large gatherings. Other cities and states around the country are taking this responsible step. New York City should as well.

We should begin with officially postponing the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Even though it is outdoors, and therefore presumed to be less risky than indoor gatherings, it is a non-essential event and will lead to large crowds of people in close contact. This is an unnecessary risk. As a city, we need to look at other mass gatherings to determine how we can limit exposure to keep people safe. Other cities have determined how to manage large gatherings, and there are a number of models for how we can do this. Our public health care experts should establish clear guidelines for New York. I have spoken to the Department of Health and Administration related to determining these criteria and guidelines.

I am not calling for New York City to be shut down. This is a balancing act. Children should continue going to school. The subways should remain in operation. Healthy New Yorkers should continue working, shopping at local businesses and taking part in city life. If you’re sick, stay home. Call your doctor if you have symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, fever or sore throat. All New Yorkers should practice good hygiene and remain vigilant about their health. People who are most at risk of a bad outcome of the novel coronavirus infection must be the most vigilant. This is people over 65 and people who have chronic diseases or weakened immune systems.

This is about avoiding unnecessary risks and issuing clear guidance to keep people safe and healthy. We will continue to monitor this fast-moving situation and adjust as needed.”