March 15, 2020
Video available at: https://youtu.be/hLjT9ub-X1c
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Let's get our team in in here. Okay. So, everyone knows on Thursday, I declared a state of emergency in New York City. At the time, I said this situation was going to get more difficult. It is quite clear – thank you – it is quite clear that this crisis is growing intensely. I spent much of the day with our public health team going over a variety of projections, going over information from the experiences of other parts of the world and details of what we've seen here in New York City. I am very, very concerned that we see a rapid spread of this disease and it is time to take more dramatic measures and I will tell you that the issue that's been on everyone's mind is our public schools. I was a public-school parent for the entire education of my children, pre-K through 12th grade for both of them. I know just how much our parents depend on our public schools. I know right now there are so many parents who do not necessarily have any other place for their children. There are so many parents who depend on our schools for meals for their children. There's so many public servants we depend on, our first responders, transit workers, health care workers who need their kids to be in school. So, for everyone who is wondering why this has been such a difficult decision, it’s because I know the full cost of shutting our schools, I know all of the negative ramifications of this decision and it's very painful. It's going to be very difficult for a lot of families.
And so, this is a decision that I have taken with no joy whatsoever, with a lot of pain, honestly, because it's something I could not in a million years have imagined having to do. But we are dealing with a challenge and a crisis that we have never seen in our lifetimes and is only just begun. So, I regret to have to announce that as of tomorrow, our public schools will be closed. In other words, to all parents who are hearing this now, there was no school tomorrow and we will be suspending our public schools until after the spring vacation. And I'm going to say this very precisely. We will make a first attempt to restart our schools on Monday, April 20th but I have to be honest that we're dealing with a lot of unknowns and a lot of challenges and we understand how difficult it will be to achieve that goal. But just so everyone has something to organize their thinking around. Our first attempt to reopen the public schools would be on Monday, April 20th. I have been very honest about the fact that there is a real possibility that by closing our schools now we may not have the opportunity to reopen them in this full school year. So, we may actually have to go out for the whole school year, which is just extraordinarily painful for our kids, for our parents, for our educators, for so many people. And the notion of a school year being disrupted in this fashion, I have no words for how horrible it is, but it has become necessary.
You're going to hear from the Chancellor in a moment and we're going to talk about the things we're going to do immediately to compensate for the loss of our public schools. And we will put a number of measures in place and we hope that they are effective and they help, but they will not by any stretch replace the full value of having our kids in school all day, and that’s just an honest statement.
The challenge, and I've said this as recently as this morning and again – I believe the facts unfortunately have given us no other choice, but there's three things that we have been trying to protect. Most importantly, our public health system, our hospital system, our clinics, everywhere that people go for health care and two things that feed that system, our public transit system and of course our schools. Now that we will not have our normal school schedule, kids in our normal school buildings, we are going to come up with a number of alternatives to try to as much as possible, still provide our kids with an education remotely and to provide a physical location for the children of those crucial public workers, those health care workers, transit workers, first responders. Those locations will be in various places around the five boroughs. We hope between the remote learning and the specialized sites for the children of essential workers that we can keep enough going to support our health care system, but it will not be easy. So starting tomorrow morning, again, as of now, school is canceled for tomorrow, canceled to at minimum Monday, April 20th, at maximum the entire 2019-2020 school year.
Remote learning will begin on Monday, March 23rd a week from tomorrow. Our colleagues in the Department of Education have in these last weeks been setting up a remote learning system. It has never been attempted by the City of New York on this scale to say the least, but they have been working on a wartime footing to prepare it. It will be up and running for children in grades K to 12 Monday, March 23rd, in a week. It is a system that will improve with each week and we'll certainly take time to make it as strong as it could be and needs to be. But it will begin and we'll be effective starting Monday, March 23rd. Over the next few days, teachers will be trained how to teach remotely. Again, this is going to be a kind of battlefield training. These are not ideal conditions. We're going to have to teach these teachers very quickly. And this is a point where I can say to all our educators, we need you. We need you. These children need you. These families need you. For so many of our educators, there'll be an opportunity to take the tools of your profession and use them in a new way to reach a lot of kids who are going to be dealing with really, really tough circumstances. Keep their education going, help those seniors to still graduate. We don't want to lose that.
For those teachers who will be a part of our learning centers for the children of essential workers, your work will not only be crucial in terms of supporting our children and their education. You will literally be in a position to help form the backbone of the system we need to keep our health care workers at their post. We cannot lose our health care workers; we cannot lose our health care facilities. So we need to make sure those children are taken care of so our health care workers feel the ability to be where we need them most. And we're going to be asking a lot of everyone in the health care field, long hours, tough conditions. So supporting their children becomes absolutely crucial.
Over the next five days, our school locations will be open for one function specifically related to kids, which will be grab-and-go meals on a transitional basis. So that is only for this coming week. At least it'll give some ability for families that need it to have that assurance. But again, these are not for kids to stay in the building, not to eat the meals in the building, to come to the building, get the meals, and take them home for any kids who need them. We're going to be doing a lot of work in the coming days on how to make sure food is readily available for kids at various locations around the city and in the days and weeks going forward. But we have more work to do on that front.
We will be working to supply technology for every child that needs it. This is, again the Chancellor's been very honest about this, an imperfect situation. We have a lot of kids of course who did not have a computer at home, a lot of kids who don't have connectivity. We're going to do our best to supply as much as we can to help those kids.
So, I'm going to give you some other updates and then we'll turn to the Chancellor, but to say the least, this is a very troubling moment. A moment where I am just distraught having to take this action. But I became convinced over the course of today there was no other choice. And now I'll tell you the overall numbers of cases and I think it makes part of the argument clearer.
Number of cases is obviously moving rapidly. Confirmed cases at this hour and that could change literally in a matter of hours, from New York City, we now have a number of confirmed cases for coronavirus of 329. And I'll remind you when we started this week with several dozen cases, we're now at 329.
A borough breakdown from numbers earlier in the day. They will not add up to 329 but it'll give you a flavor of the breakdown. 78 cases in Queens, 72 cases in Manhattan, 53 cases in Brooklyn, 21 cases in the Bronx and 16 cases in Staten Island. Yes, indeed. 78 cases in Queens, 72 cases in Manhattan, 53 cases in Brooklyn, 21 cases in the Bronx, 16 cases in Staten Island – that is ever changing. One of the worst things I have to tell you now is we are now at five total deaths in New York City. Again, it's recently as Friday afternoon. There were none. It's now five. You all know about the 82-year-old woman from Brooklyn who suffered from emphysema then was hospitalized related to coronavirus. We lost her. Now four more deaths reported related to coronavirus, a 79-year-old woman who did have preexisting conditions of heart failure and lung disease, a 78-year-old man who had multiple preexisting conditions, a 56-year-old man who had diabetes and a 53-year-old woman who had diabetes and heart disease. We feel horrible for these families. We grieve with them, they're in our thoughts and prayers and it is a reminder to everyone of how vulnerable that part of our population is that is older and has those preexisting conditions, we must protect them. Another reminder, anyone in your life who meets that standard, we have to isolate them from anyone who might be sick, even if it's their loved ones.
A number of other specific actions. I will tomorrow sign an executive order requiring all hospitals in New York City to cancel elective surgery in the coming days. This is one of the powers that exists under the state of emergency. We will work to word this specifically to allow the flexibility because some hospitals can continue over a period of a few days to close out some existing elective surgeries. Not all of them have to go to zero instantly, but they will all have to go to zero on elective surgeries soon. So that will be codified as an executive order and that will be a requirement of all hospitals. Obviously, our public health system is ready to do that immediately. We see several of our voluntary hospitals have started down that path, but everyone needs to do it is, it's absolutely that time. And even if a hospital at this moment does not have a demand related to coronavirus that requires in their eyes the cancellation of elective surgeries, that day is coming very, very soon. And we just have to make this a standard across the board.
We are canceling the special election for Queens Borough President that was scheduled for March 24th. Details will be provided soon on potential options for holding that election later. And other ways we might be able to approach that election. But we did not have those details yet. But there's been a lot of concern raised about the election day and the, all of the experiences, particularly the poll workers would have to have to make this work. And as we have seen more and more challenges, you know, this is another one is very painful, honestly, in a democratic society, the canceling of an election is such a rarity. It should be avoided at all costs. But in this case with the nature of this crisis, I've come to the decision that it's necessary.
We will be closing our senior centers, ending all programming there with the exception of activities related to food. We will turn them into feeding centers, again, focused on grab-and-go, meaning pickup of meals for those seniors for whom that works. They'll all primarily be locations for preparing and delivering meals to seniors’ homes. So instead of being a place for seniors to go to eat meals in the senior center, they'll become a dispensary to get quality meals out to seniors, whether it's by delivery or by pickup, but we will no longer have any programming in our senior centers.
Tonight, in all five boroughs. The FDNY, the New York City Sheriff's Office and the Department of Business will be cracking down on businesses that are not abiding by the 50% occupancy rule. In the first day there was warnings given, there was an attempt to educate, but now given the nature of the crisis, it's time for violations to be written. Those violations come with penalties and we are asking all businesses and that obviously largely means restaurants, bars, all businesses that have a number of people coming in and can become crowded. We can't afford those crowded spaces anymore. So, stay to the 50 percent level or you will be penalized. If you cannot make your business viable at the 50 percent level, we understand. We wish there was something we could do otherwise. And any business that feels they have to close the result, we understand that, we are not any more happy than you are. We'll try and be helpful in any way we can, but we cannot have bars and restaurants at over 50 percent capacity.
I will also say we are going to take a look at even going farther related to bars and restaurants. We have not made that decision yet. There've been a series of meetings today at City Hall and OEM. There's going to be more meetings this evening on additional topics, so in terms of the future of bars and restaurants, that is an ongoing discussion that will continue this evening.
There's also a discussion that will be solidified this evening on programs related to young people. I want to say very frankly, at the same time we are closing schools, I am tremendously concerned about what's going to happen with young people out in our communities without enough positive options, particularly teenagers, but we cannot have large congregations of young people in small spaces. One of the things we're going to be looking at is as the weather's getting warmer, can we convert some programming to outside? Is that an option that would allow us to continue some youth programming? That's something we're going to try and determine this evening.
Just finishing a few points and then to the Chancellor. The federal government – some progress, I don't want to say a little, there's been some real progress over the last few days. It’s nowhere near what we need. We still need more FDA approval for more companies to do the automated testing. We still need the Senate to pass the stimulus and then we'll need additional stimulus thereafter. Although there's been serious progress last few days on support for working people and a safety net as a strong beginning, but it's nowhere near what people are going to need for a crisis of this magnitude. So, we have to see more.
I am particularly concerned about medical supplies and all supplies needed in this city, but particularly medical supplies: ventilators, masks, face guard, sanitizer, everything that not only are we going to need in huge quantities, but Washington State will need, California will need, every part of this country that experiences this crisis right now. We've asked repeatedly and have no indication for the federal government that there has been an effort to in-effect nationalize the production process, meaning to ensure that these companies and factories that produce these goods are on a 24/7 basis until this crisis is over and that the goods are being distributed where they're needed most. This is a wartime approach. It is well known in the history of the country. We have not seen any efforts so far by the federal government in a meaningful way to do it and meanwhile this crisis is bearing down on us. We must have a consistent supply of these particularly crucial goods and we cannot guarantee that at this moment.
I'm going to emphasize something that Dr. Barbot said and in the Q-and- A, I'm sure she'll get into it further. In light of the growing number of cases, amending the guidance for the vast majority of people and Dr. Barbot can get into any exceptions or specifics, but for people who get sick with those symptoms, those what we would think were normally the seasonal kind of cold and flu-like symptoms: stay home, do not go to work. If your child is sick, do not send your child to any kind of program. Stay home. We're saying now three or four days is the timeframe to see the direction of the disease. If you're getting better, great. If you're not getting better at that point, then that's the time to call the doctor and discuss next steps. But remember, we are now going to be in a situation where our health care system is going to be increasingly stressed. We need people to recognize who will be the priority. Obviously, we've already said it, the folks who are in most danger, we have to protect first. Folks who may not be in any danger at all, we're going to ask them to wait and then if they need to get care, that makes sense, but first to wait and see it develop.
Before just a couple of words in Spanish and the Chancellor, look, I'll conclude with this. We've never been through anything like this. We're all trying to make sense of it. I've talked to so many New Yorkers. Everyone is confused. Everyone is in pain. Everyone feels like we're dealing with the great unknown because we are dealing with a great unknown. The only way we get through it is by supporting each other. The only way we get through it is by people actually following through on the information they're receiving and then backing each other up, supporting each other, looking out for each other. There's no other way. We got to take this more and more seriously with every passing day. It's tough. It's tough to get out of the patterns that we've lived our whole lives in, but something's changed and it's not going back. So I ask you, all New Yorkers, there's no place on earth where people are stronger, tougher, more resilient, and more compassionate. There is no place on earth better than New York City. We're going to need to show that right now. Everyone, step up. Look out for the people in your life because they're going to need you. A few words in Spanish.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that, one person I want to speak now is our Schools Chancellor, and then we'll open up to questions. Chancellor Richard Carranza –
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. This is a very sobering day for all of us and as the Mayor has been very clear from day-one, as circumstances continue to evolve, so does this city's response to the COVID-19 situation. And the situation continues to evolve. We've been monitoring this closely day by day, hour by hour, some cases minute by minute. And this weekend as the Mayor has announced, we've taken the sobering look at what is happening in our city, the rise in cases across the city and quite frankly, the sustainability of continuing public education in our school buildings for the time being in the way that we have educated children for years. So, the Mayor and I had been clear that any changes to the current model would be an extreme measure and a decision we considered the last resort. We are at the last resort.
So as a Mayor has announced effective tomorrow, school will not be in session in the traditional way that we've become accustomed to. Students come to school, parents drop students off, teachers, administrators, custodial staff, everybody comes to school. We want you to think of tomorrow as a snow day. So, everybody stays back. Our, and I want to thank Henry Garrido and his union members because our food and nutrition workers are going to come to their schools and they will be available to distribute in a grab-and-go methodology, breakfast and lunch for our students. So, for this next week you can go to your school, you won't go in, but you can grab food if you need the food.
So, on Monday, all school-based personnel will stay home. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week, we are asking our principals and our teachers to come to school. We will practice social distancing, of course, but it's going to be critical because we are going to be distributing, training, giving guidance on what the remote learning will look like over the next four weeks. What will be critical as well is that resources that teachers have, there'll be an opportunity for teachers to upload those resources as well. So, it's going to be important that for the next three days our teachers and principals are in school buildings. Students will not be in our school buildings. And then Friday will be another day of training for those who need it, virtually. As the Mayor has announced, on Monday the 23rd, we will launch into remote learning across the city. We feel confident that students will be able to continue to engage academically. It belies any logic to say it will be the same thing as a student in a classroom with the teacher.
But I have tremendous, tremendous faith in the teachers of New York City and the administrators of New York City, and I know that if there's any school system that can launch into remote learning on a moment's notice like we're about to do, it is the New York City Department of Education. I'm going to ask all parents, if you have not yet done so, please sign up for the New York City Schools Account. This is going to be critically important as we push information out, but also important for you to get resources to be able to support your students remote learning needs. We are pushing through all of our social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter, et cetera, and I will be amplifying that, the exact way of signing up for a New York Schools Account. It's not difficult but it's going to be critical. Additional guidance on what this will look like, all of the details, and the who, and the what, and the where, will be forthcoming over the course of this this week and in the coming weeks as well.
Also, on March 23rd, we will be opening several dozen regional enrichment centers across the city, in all of our boroughs, to serve the children of our city's first responders, including health care workers and to serve our most vulnerable student populations. That Monday we will also launch remote learning for grades K-12 and those resources if you want to preview, are available on our school – on our website as we speak. I also want to be clear about a few things and amplify what the Mayor has said. Breakfast and lunch will be available for any student who wants it. Starting tomorrow through April 8th, the first day of spring recess. We will also be in close communication regarding technology pickup locations for regional enrichment centers in the coming days. As I have mentioned in response to questions, we understand that there are students that may not have devices. We understand that there are students and families that may not have Wi-Fi connection at home. We are working with a number of partners. We estimate about 300,000 of our students are in need of devices. We have partners that has stepped up. The City of New York has stepped up and we believe we can actually get devices into the hands of our students who need them. We're going to also prioritize our students living in temporary housing, our students that are living in poverty, and students that do not have access to those resources.
As a Mayor has mentioned, this has been a very sobering 48 hours for both of us. We believe in strongly believe the best place for a child is in a school house with a well-trained, caring teacher. We know that our teachers believe their place is in a school house caring for their children. And as a teacher, I can tell you my kids were my kids. We're going to ask teachers to continue with that philosophy. They're still your students. You're just going to be helping them a little remotely now, we want to share families also that we're working to make this as a seamless of a transition as possible. We're not lowering our expectations. We're just changing the delivery of instruction. And we know that with our dedicated, and I would say passionate staff, our school staff, our teachers, custodians, administrators, and especially our school food workers who are going to continue to work during this time. We know that we will be serving our 1.1 million students. This is a time as the Mayor has said for us to be together as New Yorkers. Not physically, but philosophically. For sure. A few words in Spanish.
[Chancellor Carranza speaks in Spanish]
Mr. Mayor, I turn it back over to you, sir.
Mayor: Thank you, Chancellor. Okay. Questions? Yeah.
Question: Can you say more about enforcing the 50 percent capacity. Your people at the agencies are – when that's going to start? What the fines are? And maybe St. Patrick is upon us. How are you going to enforce this –
Mayor: It's – I mean, obviously look, this – to state the obvious, all of this has been painful. You know, St. Patrick's parade, something that's been around over 200 years, shutting down our school system for who knows how long this is. This is just painful, painful stuff. The fact is though, we have to enforce these rules, so it will be FDNY, it will be Department of Buildings, it will be the sheriff. The initial, as I understand it, the first violation is a fine of $400 and I’m going to confirm that and then it escalates with any future violation. Also, the authority in question will ensure, on the spot, that the audience if you will in the establishment is brought down to 50 percent. So they will not leave until they're under 50 percent, right then and there.
And again, this is a beginning. We announced this policy in accordance and agreement with the State. We have given people the chance to acclimate to it. They've been given warnings. Now the enforcement begins in earnest. If folks do not comply, we will just keep ramping up penalties. But we're also going to assess the bigger situation, as I said, with bars and restaurants, it may be necessary to go farther soon. And that's something we'll start to a conversation on in just a few hours.
Question: If someone is being intransigent, can there be arrests?
Mayor: Of course. I mean, this is, this is an emergency and anyone who was intransigent in the middle of a pandemic deserves to be arrested.
Question: Mr. Mayor, if you'll indulge me a couple of questions -
Question: [Inaudible] you've said if you stick to staying home, what if you're not feeling symptoms? We know that asymptomatic people can have – share the virus. It's not clear to people – what are they – what do you do if you're not feeling sick? Do you also stay home?
Mayor: So, I'm going to start and pass to the health care experts. One, let's just as a good – very fair question, but I want to not negate the sort of the pillars of the guidance we're giving. If you do feel sick, stay home. You don't need to try and figure out what category it falls in. If you feel sick, stay home and your kids are sick, stay home. If you're sick, don't get with older relatives or sick relatives. Okay. And then I'm going to try and the doctors will jump in if they don't like anything they hear and they'll jump in anyway. What we see is transmission, certainly primarily coming from symptomatic people. Simple reason, I think you've told me Dr. Barbot, because it's symptomatic. People who are sneezing, who are coughing, it is through droplets. So, something has to happen. And that's much, much more likely to happen with symptomatic people. That does not negate your question. It just says the odds are really much more in favor of transmission from symptomatic people. Is that too laymen? Okay, come on up.
Commissioner Oxiris Barbot, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: So, I want to broaden the response a little bit because we're talking about social distancing, which means creating physical distance between individuals. But I want to just sort of hit home the point that the Mayor and Chancellor Carranza have been saying in terms of while we may be asking New Yorkers to distance themselves physically, we're asking them to come together emotionally. This is a sober time for the city and it's an opportunity for New Yorkers to do as they have done historically and help one another. And so while it may be theoretically possible for someone who is asymptomatic to transmit the virus, there really is no indication that the asymptomatic people are responsible for this explosion worldwide. And that's why it's so important for people who are symptomatic to stay home. Every day we are learning more about how this virus behaves. And initially we took – we gave New Yorkers the advice to stay home for 24 to 48 hours. We're now learning more that in reality we've been saying 80 percent will have a mild course that's bearing itself out here in New York City and we feel comfortable saying if you're not better in three or four days, but you're not getting worse, than this is the time not to go to the doctors. Maybe you call them, but by all means, if you are not getting better, that's who we want to make sure reaches out to your doctor, gets access to care, because we're not asking people to stay home and suffer. We're just asking them to spend a little bit more time recuperating and if you're getting better than stay on that trajectory if you're not getting better than seek care.
Question: That’s interested, but if you are not sick should you stay home?
Commissioner Barbot: Well, in this situation, yeah. That's the reason why we're closing the schools. That's the reason why we're telling people not to go to work if they can telecommute, because we want people to have more distance from each other. Not because we think that asymptomatic people are spreading the virus, but because we want to reduce the number of New Yorkers that get infected, and as importantly, if not more importantly, we want to reduce the number of New Yorkers who are at risk for bad health outcomes such as needing to end up in the hospital, in the ICU, or God forbid dying because of this. And it's a real reality. And so it's incumbent on all of us to play our part and stay home.
Mayor: Let me amplify one piece. If you can stay home, and that's a crucial, I mean, again, this is why this school's decision is so painful. I know there are many parents who right now are scrambling trying to figure out what to do. I mean, obviously everyone's been paying attention and known that we were dealing with an incredibly difficult situation. But you know, there are some people in this town, if they are still going to work, they could bring their child to work. There are plenty of people in this town that that would never be allowed and there are a lot of people who still need a paycheck. Now, something has changed the last few days and I'm sure we will get questions along the way as sort of how thinking evolves, how strategy evolves.
I will say that Friday signified – Friday night really – signified a change because we were far from certain the federal government was going to get into a serious relief effort because it's been so slow and because of obvious partisan and philosophical issues in the Congress. The bill that passed the House was very substantial relief. It's shocking to me the Senate didn't stick around. I don't understand that for the life of me, but we presume they're going to pass it tomorrow. And Senator Schumer has said he believes there will be another package immediately behind it. That at least gives us a little more assurance that folks who now can't go to work anymore, will have some support. But that's not enough at this moment. I mean, you're hopeful it will come, but right now there's a lot of people who just can't yet say to themselves, I’m just not working. You know, they literally have bills to pay. They literally can't take the risk. So if you don't have to go to work, don't go to work. If you're sick, don't go to work. If you can telecommute, telecommute at minimum, if you can stagger hours away from rush hour, do obviously rush hour is getting reduced all the time, but do.
But I also want to be real about the fact there's a number of people who do have to go to work, including the ones we are requiring because of their call to duty to go to work. And they are doing an amazing job. Our health care workers, our first responders, our transit workers, and obviously we're going to need our educators in a different way now. So it's not as simple as like everyone can totally 100 percent stay home at this moment. But anyone who has the ability to should, and I'll give you one more and then I got to give to others.
Question: But this is all just following up on my first –
Mayor: Yeah, I'm sorry. You'll get another chance after one more. One more and then we're going to everyone else.
Question: Criminal justice system, right?
Question: Rikers Island, the courts, if school's going to be closed. What about all the people in our jail?
Mayor: The folks in our jails are in our jails right now with a lot of specific precautions. There's definitely distancing initiatives going on. Very careful checks on health care. We'll have more to say on that. That's one of the areas that's going to come up next on the agenda, but I'm very concerned about it. But that doesn't mean we don't need a functioning jail system.
Question: One of your concerns in not closing schools last week was that not like you closed the school these kids are just going to stay in their house.
Question: You said they were going to gather –
Question: What can you do to stop that?
Mayor: We can't.
Question: How do you convince young people then you're not making a big deal out of –
Mayor: It’s – I'm not going to lie to my fellow New Yorkers. We're not going to convince teenagers to not gather if they're out of school for weeks on end. We are going to try and maximize distance learning, which the better we can make it and the more cooperation we get from parents who again, are going through amazing stress right now. You know, parents are going through so much at this moment, we're going to ask them to help us. And obviously Richard, jump in if you wish. The parents and family members, guardians, help us get kids connected to the distance learning and keep them connected.
But we have no illusion. We do not have the same control we have in a school building. We just don't. And I was very blunt about it. If you, you know, we're talking about initially weeks, it could be months. Anyone who believes those kids are patiently going to sit in their room, in their apartment and never go outside, just has never met a teenager. They eventually, whether it's during school hours or after school or weekends, they're going to go seek out their friends. They're going to create their social networks. There's going to be possibly a transmission. I'm sure. I think it's a factual statement. It's probably a better reality and being in a school building in some ways, but it's not pristine. And then we will have to have some kids in those learning centers for the children of our first responders, et cetera. So this is not a perfect equation. It's a very imperfect equation, but it became necessary. And we'll do, of course, we're going to do our best, if we see - all of our police officers and other public servants see congregations of young people, we're going to obviously try and reduce that space that out. If we see any nefarious activity, that's where the police will come in. But it's going to be a tremendous challenge when you're talk about so many kids in such a big city.
Question: Can I ask a couple questions if I have a chance to like –
Question: A few things, [inaudible] really short. The first one is what’s the details about what socially remote learning might look like for parents that have no clue what that's going to mean. And the second thing is, you know, a lot of fifth eighth graders are waiting for their acceptance letters from middle schools and high schools, will the closure impact this for them.
Chancellor Carranza: So remote learning is exactly what it says. You're learning remotely from your home or wherever alternate location you are. So it looks – it's going to look different in different places. We currently have on our website, New York City Department of Education website, about 10 days’ worth of from K-12 of materials and assignments and activities that by grade level parents can access. Now again, we're flying the plane as we're building the plane. So the next steps are to translate those materials into a number of languages that's happening actively as we speak. But we know this is going to go beyond 10 days. So part of bringing our educators back on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, is to going to be to capture and populate that website and that platform with additional resources. We also know that there are a great number of our schools that already utilize Google platform, Google classroom.
So we're going to – and part of the training that'll happen these next few days – is schools that don't currently have a presence on Google classroom, they will get trained on how to use it, which allows teachers and to in a virtual way submit assignments to push information out. There's going to be a number of third-party partners that we have in our school system that already provide additional supplementary types of activities. So, all of those things will continue to be how we continue to build this remote learning platform for parents and for students, which is why it's really critical that we have all of our families on – signed up for that New York City Schools Accounts that they can get that information. This is going to continue to evolve over the course of the next few days, next few weeks. And we're committed to being very, very transparent about what's available and what's new. And I've got to tell you, I have tremendous, tremendous faith in the teachers that are in New York City who I've seen do some incredibly innovative things already. We want to capture that as well, so that's available to other students and families.
Your second question was about admissions letters. You know, we'll get back to you on that. I don't see why that's going to be affecting students because the central offices, we're going to continue to work. So, I don't see what that would be delayed, but we'll confirm that for you.
Question: On the national level, the top infectious disease expert is calling for – he wants a 14-day national shutdown. Do you think you're going to see a 14-day city shut down? What would happen?
Mayor: We're going to be making day to day, hour to hour decisions. I mean, right now this crisis is getting a lot worse very quickly. And we have been, as I said over the course of this day analyzing a whole lot more information and trying to assess where it's going. And it's certainly very, very sobering. So, I'm not ruling anything out, but the – I think the smart thing for New Yorkers to recognize, we’re going to make each announcement the second is ready. But I don't want to project something until we're sure, but everything, literally every option is on the table right now. Yeah.
Question: How do you protect these workers? I mean, I've talked to so many workers who are servers, you know, are in the service industry or [inaudible] workers and you know, they – some of them can apply for unemployment because they're not full time or you know, there's just no safety net for them when they're getting laid off because they're not eating at the restaurants. Have you been in talks with Senator Schumer, [inaudible], the State? I mean, there states, California now, Ohio, Illinois are shutting down bars and restaurants now. It's probably inevitable that that's going to happen. So what protections are going to be there –
Mayor: Senator Schumer and I have definitely talked about what needs to be in the next stimulus bill and this is exactly the kind of thing we've talked about. That it has to go much deeper into the workforce and provide a lot more income replacement for a lot longer. Look, this is the great unknown. We haven't seen something – I think doctors, you'll agree – we haven't seen something like this in the United States of America since the 1918. So, literally over a century. We're in a whole different reality than 1918. Thank God. We do have a lot of advantages compared to them. But on the other hand, we're dealing with the great unknown. We’re literally dealing with a disease that they still don't know entirely how it works. There's no cure, there's no vaccine.
So, we've got to recognize the sheer magnitude. But even though that's the, the only parallel you can find to this pandemic and the experience in America, there is a positive example of helping people in crisis across the board. And we actually lived it and a lot of people are walking around today who are part of it, and it was called the New Deal. It actually happened. Where the federal government determined that it would, in that instance, employ people outright and provide every conceivable form of financial support and it saved this country. This is a different situation physically, right? You know, you've got – you obviously have to make sure people get through the immediate crisis, but this is a crisis that will end. One of the things we talked about today is the fact that over time this disease will reach its high point and then we'll start to recede. It will end, but the financial, the economic, the human impact has only just begun and it will go long past the point where we say the immediate crisis with a disease is over. The federal government has the power to address that, to borrow some of the tools of the New Deal and use them in our time and they have the power to get ahead of the medical crisis by ensuring that the supplies we need are there. We are all talking about ventilators. We're here in the biggest thing in country. We, right now, are an Island. If we don't get help from the federal government to get those ventilators that we need going forward, we will simply run out. Right now, we have a strong supply and we're looking for any more we can get. But there's going to be a point where if we don't get help from the federal government, if we don't get help from the military, we will simply run out. There's still time to fix that.
Question: [Inaudible] The first is for Chancellor Carranza [inaudible] from home? Are they – are kids expected to be in front of a computer, you know, normal school hours? Are they going to get grades? Is attendance going to be taken? How much will it be like regular school?
Chancellor Carranza: It's not going to be like regular school. I mean, that's impossible to create those conditions, again, which is why I said it's going to look different in different places with different teachers, different subject areas, different grade levels, etcetera. What we want to be able to do is provide as much flexibility for our teachers and for our students to continue to be engaged intellectually over the course of however long this is going to last. I would ask people to think about what happens in the summer, and there's a term that we use called summer slide where you're not actively engaged and you start, you know, you start regressing a little bit on your skillset. No one would ever say that summer school is exactly like the traditional school year, but what it does is it prevents that summer slide. What we're trying to say is, instead of saying, we're not going to be in session for four weeks and figure it out, do what you’ve got do, we want to be able to provide resources and support. And our teachers are still working, they're just not working in the building. And provide the infrastructure so teachers can continue to connect with students, students can continue to connect with teachers. I would not be surprised – all the details about what's that going to look like will become much more clear after we have our teachers kind of weigh in with us.
Question: [Inaudible] you believe that it’s only theoretical that there [inaudible] asymptomatic transmission? Dr. Burke's at the White House said – I'll read the quote – “You don't want to say that the risk is low. We don't know how low the numbers are for people who are asymptomatic.” So, can you reconcile, you know, what you believe [inaudible] said yesterday?
Commissioner Barbot: Yeah. I believe what I said was that it is theoretically possible for someone who's asymptomatic to shed the virus, but they're not accounting for the explosion that we're seeing. It's the symptomatic people that are accounting for the spread, not just in the city, but worldwide.
Question: On the bars and restaurants, at last count, there were something like 27,000 restaurants in New York City. How much enforcement do you think can get done here? As an addendum, why isn't the NYPD helping with that?
Mayor: Oh, they will. This is literally – so, this is a policy that came out Thursday, with initial applicability data Friday, with explicit decision to educate and warn for the first 24 hours, and now enforcement will begin in earnest and NYPD will absolutely be a part of it. It's a huge task. Now, I think there are a lot of bar and restaurant owners and employees who have gotten the memo here because they see what we're all seeing nonstop who are not taking it lightly. I have definitely heard reports of bars and restaurants that have spaced out their tables and are doing the right thing. I think there are others that have simply closed because they didn't think they could keep going. I believe as enforcement ramps up and word spreads that it's serious, that will help lock things down further. But again, we have bigger decisions to make soon. But I don't think it's one way or another. I think, for sure, there's some places that are going to try not to do it, but there's a lot of places I think take it seriously.
Question: I have two questions. One is about the ferries. Observers are saying that the ferries are not being [inaudible] –
Mayor: Do you mean Staten Island or NYC Ferry?
Question: NYC Ferry –
Mayor: We’ll find out.
Question: Also, are you guys going to ramp up service since there is like an outdoor option on a ferry rather than [inaudible] like a subway or bus?
Mayor: Excellent question. On the first one, I'll check the cleaning schedule. I know EDC takes this very seriously and they're very efficient. On the second one – that's a very good point. And obviously the weather is supporting us now. I mean, we're literally on the verge of a formal spring and it's getting warmer. But I don't have an answer for you at this hour. It’s something we can come back to you on.
Question: [Inaudible] Cuomo this morning was talking about state [inaudible] closed stores in one state, people will come to New York from New Jersey and vice versa. So, Hoboken has enacted a curfew from 10:00 pm till 5:00 am are we worried at all that a lot of those people [inaudible] will come over?
Mayor: Thirsty Hoboken’ers – is that the category? Yeah. I don't know. I think, right now, we are going through such an intense, fast transformation, I think a lot of people are recognizing the dangers and so I don't expect people traveling long distances. I expect a lot of people to get their libations and go home. But that's just me thinking common sense. I think it becomes an interesting question as this all develops. But, right now, I'm not sure that those actions going to have a big impact on us.
Mayor: Everything is on the table. Curfew is one of the emergency powers I have under the state of emergency. We have not made that decision, but everything's on the table.
Question: Mr. Mayor, one quick question and then a follow-up. With respect to the schools and teachers going into this new learning platform, some have already messaged us and said, is there a way for us to learn virtually ourselves – this virtual platform – so we're not exposed to other people? Just how would you address those concerns?
Mayor: It's a fair concern, but I think the reality is not as well as they need to. I mean, we've been talking about this – it’s a very fair question. We obviously worked it through. This is – again, this is a battlefield condition. We're asking people in three days to prepare to teach in an entirely different manner. I think in terms of the sheer efficacy and, you know, putting materials in their hand and one thing the other, we're going to be a much better shape coming into the building. But, of course, we're going to distance people and be respectful of that need. And there's no kids there, so it's a very different environment. And anyone who's sick of course should not come. Going forward, we'll do our best to keep updating virtually, but I think it's just an honest reality to teach people, many of whom will be the first time they've done it, it's hard to do all of that virtually. And, Richard, I'm just trying to summarize from our conversation. Right. Go ahead.
Question: [Inaudible] you know, you were the mayor after Sandy, but you were the mayor during Ebola. Obviously, the idea of an infectious disease or virus in this city is not a new one. Was there not a plan in place ahead of time to say, okay, if we were in a situation like this, how do we shut down the schools to address the understandable concerns you've raised over the last week or so, which is lunches and then health care or essential workers not having [inaudible] –
Mayor: There's OEM – the Office of Emergency Management for a living does that kind of planning. Each agency has their version of that planning. But you have to be honest about the fact that it's very theoretical until you deal with the real thing. In the last weeks, all of that planning has advanced intensely in each agency. We would not be able to tell you that on Monday, March 23rd, we were going to have distance learning from 1 million kids if a lot of work had not been done already. We wouldn't be able to tell you we are going to be able to do, you know, tomorrow morning grab and go meals, breakfast and lunch if work had not been done. The same with the ability to set up alternative learning sites by Monday, the 23rd for the essential workers’ kids. So, there's a lot of planning. There's also a lot of concern that all of these things are so different than what we normally do, it will take time to get it to be as good as we want it to be and it will never be as good as everyone being in a classroom. That's just the truth.
Question: Mayor, can you describe your conversations with 1199 and what prompted the change of your position to close schools?
Mayor: My –
Question: What prompted your choice to close schools?
Mayor: Well, those are two very different topics. Let me, let me start with the bigger one. Look, it is – it kind of goes against everything I believe to take a decision that I know will have so many negative ramifications and I don't think I've sugarcoated them in any of these conversations over the last few days. You know, I was a public-school parent, I was a school board member. I mean, the notion of our public schools being closed, not for weeks, but potentially for months, and what's that's going to do to kids, the notion of a lot of kids unsupervised, the health and safety problems that come with that. I mean, I could go on and on. I have delineated it. It just was a very painful, difficult decision, but it became clear to me as we went through the projections that it was just necessary, as bad as the – in other words, you're now baking in a lot of negative impact, a lot of damage that's going to be done. But the threat was growing so intensely that we had to accept it. And it's – I think it's kind of rare that you sort of – you make a lot of decisions in this work, but where it's you know you're doing something that will cause so much harm, but unfortunately it's like a sacrifice that has to be done for a greater good. And we have never seen anything like this disease. Yeah, I went through Ebola. I went through a lot of things, never seen anything like this. So, it was really seeing the latest models – they're still being perfected, but just seeing where we were at this point, talking through the ramifications, and obviously appreciating that the DOE has been working constantly on these last days to try and get a fallback ready and they felt confident in the last 24 hours that they could provide a quality option. I needed to hear that. That was not so clear days ago, but it was clear this weekend. And the federal stimulus was also a part of my thinking. I thought a couple of days back to – you know, three, four days ago that there was a question of the panic it might induce. There's a question of the way it would have an impact on people's livelihoods if people couldn't go to work. But that now has changed. I mean, so many people increasingly can't go to work anyway and there's finally some federal support coming in and some safety net being built. So, that gave me at least a little solace that we had some more room to maneuver. Vis-a-vis 1199 – I mean, it's a union I think very, very highly, worked closely with over decades. We are depending on their members. They are crucial to the battle ahead. They're the health care workers that will keep our hospitals, our clinics going. You know, a few days ago they worry – they were tremendously worried about no school for their kids and then I think they looked at other factors and they came back and said they had changed their minds. They have every right to that, but that was not part of the decision. The decision was based on all the other things I said.
Mayor: No. I respect them. I spoke with George Gresham, I really respect him, but, no, this was many, many layers and many, many other factors that were really about a million kids and their families. That's how the decision was made. Okay. We're almost done. Let me see if there's anything else. Go ahead.
Question: [Inaudible] foster care and other social service organizations sent you a letter expressing concern about mandatory face-to-face visits [inaudible] compromise people's health. What kind of guidance are you giving them and what should they all be doing?
Mayor: It's very fair question and this is exactly the next level of things we're going to start to deal with. Some of the questions that come up here – our Correction system, Social Services youth programs – we're going to start one by one dealing with each of those. Someone – I can't even remember which day is which anymore, Andrew, I think you'll forgive me, but I think it was Friday, someone called in to WNYC about in-person interviews for food stamps or for public assistance. We want to try and weed out everything we can weed out, anything that doesn't have to have to be in person really urgently we don't want to put people in that situation and we got to move quickly. On the other hand, we have to get people support. So, on that previous question about the food stamps and public assistance, we can't see that collapse. The foster kids are depending on us. We have to make sure we have a way of supporting them. But as much – doing as many things virtually as possible, streamlining as little a gathering as possible, that's what we're going to be working on.
Question: [Inaudible] I want to really getting some clarity because I don't have it and I don't think the folks and home have it –
Mayor: What don’t you have? You’re talking about the disease or the clarity?
Question: [Inaudible] not symptomatic –
Question: I get you're saying don't go to work and if you can [inaudible] but what about all the other stuff? Having dinner with people going to a restaurant –
Mayor: If you’re not symptomatic?
Question: If you’re not symptomatic [inaudible] –
Mayor: So, let me – I'm going to start and I'll let the health care professionals jump in. I'm a human being. I respect that doctors have the perspective, that, sort of, pure medical perspective. It's just like the question earlier, what are teenagers going to do? I know what teenagers are going to do. I had teenagers. I know what – I was a teenager, you know?
Question: [Inaudible] follow the best practice?
Mayor: Right. And so, what I'm saying is, of course we want people to just continue to reduce what they do out in the world to as little as possible. If they don't need to go to work, don't go to work. If you don't need to go out and go to events or gatherings or need to go to a restaurant, the less the better. On the other hand, I'm trying to be real and, again, the doctors can come in and be tougher, but I'm trying to be real about the fact that some people, you know, may be seeing that long lost friend or relative is so important to them, you know, even if it's brief – I don't want to suggest we're at the point of saying literally no one can go outside. We may say that very, very soon. I think we're saying, avoid anything unnecessary. Just be really judicious about it, especially if you’re sick, stay home, and if someone else is sick, don’t go near them. So, I'm not telling you, you can never do anything fun. I am telling people, you know, reduce everything you can reduce. Now, again, doctors, you want to bring down a hammer, go ahead.
Commissioner Barbot: I think we've been clear, and thank you for the opportunity to make it even clearer, that there isn't a situation where there is zero risk, unless someone is going to be hermetically sealing themselves in their apartment, given that we have community-wide transmission, there's no place that's going to be zero risk. What we want New Yorkers to do is to be smart, to be vigilant and to be diligent about the recommendations that we've made, which include consistent, thorough handwashing. If you're not near a water source to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer – you know, there can't be a press conference that goes by that I don't say that.
Mayor: [Inaudible] clearly does not know how to say hand sanitizer without saying alcohol-based [inaudible] –
Commissioner Barbot: And that on top of that, you know, covering your mouth and your nose when you cough or sneeze. That, you need to be vigilant about developing symptoms such as fever and a cough, fever and shortness of breath. And that all of these preventive measures in and of themselves doing them in isolation isn't going to provide the maximal support, that all of these interventions together layered on top of one of each other are intended to not only help individuals lower their risk but also lower their risk to their neighbors, to their families, to their communities. And so, you know, this drastic step that we're taking in terms of closing the schools is sort of the ultimate in terms of that preventive measure.
Question: You said this morning you are not yet at the point of saying you want to shut down completely everything non-essential [inaudible]?
Mayor: We are – so, I respect to anyone who calls for anything, and I'd say to them, try being the person who has to make the decision and be accountable to 8.6 million people to get it right. The human ramification of each decision is being factored in very carefully. The viability of each decision – you know, the sort of big distance between theory and practice, trying to make sure what we decide is real and viable. We had to, in the last 24 hours, really get all of us into a point where we were certain based on the numbers, based on projections, based on other countries’ experiences that we needed to take these very radical steps right now. We're taking them instantly. There's definitely more coming, but we have to account for each – for example, in decision on of schools, and I been plaguing people throughout the week on this, all those other factors that I've talked about, all those negatives that come with closing the schools, I have been asking everyone to answer those as best they can and show me how they can mitigate at least some of the impact. I think the DOE did a great job. I think that between Monday and now, people like Chancellor Carranza and our Chief Operating Officer, Ursulina Ramirez – you know, they have not slept much and they have been forcing everyone to figure out alternatives in a whole new way. So, it's really been a you know, a mobilization, if you will. And I think the answer's got better about how we can address some of these situations. But everything – this is the honest blanket statement – you tell me a thing that might be used and I'm telling you it's on the table, and the second we're ready to use it, we’re going to tell you.
Question: Mr. Mayor, who ultimately came up with the decision? Was it yourself or –
Mayor: On the schools?
Mayor: That's me – mayoral accountability for education – obviously, working constantly with the Chancellor.
Question: In regards to the grab and go meals, is that all schools?
Mayor: Yes. Confirming all schools for five days only.
Mayor: Tomorrow. What time, Ursulina?
Chief Operating Officer Ursulina Ramirez, Department of Education: [Inaudible] starting tomorrow, anyone 18 or under can show up to get a meal.
Mayor: And do you know the exact time they’ll start?
Chief Operating Officer Ramirez: When school starts, so 7:30.
Mayor: Depending on each school start time, okay. Yes.
Question: [Inaudible] police going to be breaking up groups of teenagers who were in assembly.
Mayor: What I said – again, let's be careful not to overstate it. So, if you've got a bunch of teenagers hanging out and really close up against each other, what our officers should do is go and say, hey, guys, you know, what's going on with coronavirus, spread out. That kind of thing. And that's important to get – in fact, what our officers do with neighborhood policing all the time is talk to young people. So, it's go in there, remind them what social distancing looks like, tell people spread out, be a little more careful, that kind of thing.
Mayor: We're going to – let's try the power of communication and persuasion. I think everyone knows what time it is.
Question: You've alluded several times and there are still ongoing discussions about the future of bars and restaurants –
Mayor: You’re very interested in bars and restaurants, I wonder if this is professional or otherwise –
Really getting a feeling you have a more-than-professional interest here.
Question: Would you say it's only a matter of time until we see more drastic –
Mayor: I'm not going to – again, I'm real clear, everything's on the table. The next set of decisions we're going to start in a matter of hours. We may have announcements tonight, we may have announcements tomorrow. Everything is on the table. If you love your neighborhood bar, go there now – under 50 percent occupancy because we don't know what the future holds. But be only there very briefly and socially distant, go ahead.
Question: This is for the Chancellor. One of kind of – be more specific about what we're doing to get hardware into the hands of kids who don't have the hardware to do distance learning. And then also the other question was since public schools are sometimes the first line of defense against child abuse, what does the child protection agency – like do you have any plans for ramping up resources for kids?
Chancellor Carranza: Yeah, so I'll do the top lines and I'm going to ask our Chief Operating Officer to give some specifics. So we've surveyed and part of the next four days is also to get more concrete data as to who has connectivity, who does not have connectivity. We're working on a figure of about 300,000 of our students currently may not have those devices. So we need to verify that as well. We are working with some really large companies. Apple has really stepped up to the plate. I'll let Ursulina talk a little bit specifically about the numbers. T-Mobile has also stepped up. Verizon has also stepped up, Google has stepped up. So our big partners are really stepping up to help us make this a reality. In regards to the second question – absolutely, I'm working very closely with my fellow commissioners. We're in a whole different environment now. So we're working very closely about how do we continue to monitor, how do we continue to have a pulse, what are the escalation protocols? We'll have more details as we solidify those as well. But I'm going to ask our Chief Operating Officer to give a little more specificity on the device and connectivity question.
Chief Operating Officer Ramirez: Thank you so much, sir. So, we are working diligently with our private partners around devices. As the Chancellor mentioned, we've surveyed our principals to ask about what kind of devices our students have and what kind of connectivity that they think that they have. So as the Chancellor mentioned, we're working with Apple to supply 300,000 iPads to our students and we will be working on a distribution method over the next week. We are also working, as he mentioned, with T-Mobile to make sure that those devices are activated and students can use internet on those. In addition, we're working with other partners, as he mentioned, Verizon, Spectrum, and a host of people who have really stepped up to want to support our students. So, I thank them for that. So, you'll be hearing more from us over the next week around how we're going to be distributing those devices and what our expectations are for the devices.
Chief Ramirez: We are purchasing the devices, the Apple devices. But obviously they're working with us on reasonable costs for the system.
Chancellor Carranza: So, I also want to just – yeah, just want to add to what Ms. Ramirez just said. So obviously we're purchasing them. We're not giving them away. So, they're being assigned to students to use. Obviously, they belong to the Department of Education, but we want students to have the devices that they need and serv – you know, mind because you've said we all wear the same uniform during this particular situation. I want to thank and give a shout out to our controller, Scott Stringer, who moved heaven and earth to allow us to be able purchase these in record time. And it's that kind of cooperation that makes a real time response possible.
Mayor: [Inaudible] that question over here. We'll do a few more and then we're done because we got a lot more to work on tonight. You had a question about child welfare?
Question: I did. Just how are we making sure that the children of physical abuse are safe as far as the burden of reducing the number of face-to-face visits and things like that, and if you don't have kids going in schools like [inaudible] are we handing out. Is there [inaudible] –
Mayor: There's usually – I mean I've worked on these issues a lot over the years. There's a lot of different nexus points out in the community historically where there are adults watching out for that kind of problem. Obviously, police are watching out for that kind of problem, health care professionals, a whole host of – and obviously some of that will continue. I think you're right that there's less information flowing if schools are not in session. But we have to figure out if there's some kind of information we want to get out or some kind of special effort. The work of child protection is one of those critical elements of what we do. It's very similar to what police or fire do in my book, different kinds of work, professionally, different kinds of skills, but in terms of protecting people's lives. So, we need that work to continue, but it will be a different approach going forward. Okay. Few more and I got to get out of here. Hold on, hold on. Dudes. I am pointing at people, let it happen.
Question: Thank you. Mr. Mayor, I have a question for Chancellor and I was hoping you can elaborate a little [inaudible] component. I know DOE has nine [inaudible] what about parents whose language is not nine top languages [inaudible] about parents whose languages don't fall within those?
Chancellor Carranza: Yeah, so more, more guidance will be coming more information. We're literally building the plane and flying it right now. So, we are – we do have a whole team that's translating materials. Language translation in and of itself, we take very seriously on our website as well.
Mayor: We'll update which languages it is as we know along. Yes?
Question: Is the City doing anything to prepare for potential unrest –
Question: Yeah, it's a very stressful time. What is the NYPD doing –
Mayor: The NYPD has that concept in its planning, I think, perennially, I don't see the context for that right now, but the point is that's the kind of thing NYPD is more than able to plan for in general. Yep.
Question: Super quick. One thing is – any thoughts on suspending alternate side parking. And do you have –
Mayor: We're looking at that. We are not there, but we're looking at it.
Question: I just want to verify if you were just joking about the neighborhood bar thing and just –
Mayor: I am allowed to joke still it’s – because again guys, I know we're in a crisis, but I'm still a human being. It was my way of saying I cannot guarantee if bars and restaurants are still going to be open in a few days. That's all I'm saying.
Question: I wanted to clarify that and I just want – it feels like you guys are stopping short of telling people who aren’t sick or aren't displaying symptoms to stay home and cut out non-essential –
Mayor: We're trying to be clear about, yes, cut out anything non-essential. That does not mean that people are not going to exercise their judgment if something is particularly precious to them or important. We still understand human beings are human beings, but I'll tell you something, I appreciate the precision of your question, but if people would just do the basics, we would be in a much stronger position. So, if every single New Yorker did not go to work or anywhere if they're sick, did not send our kid anywhere if there was sick, did not visit anyone else if they were sick, and did not do anything that they don't have to do in terms of their day to day life, like if they can telecommute, instead of going into the office telecommute – if we get those basics right, we're going to be a much stronger position. I am not yet at a draconian, perfect place of saying you cannot leave your door. I would like people to keep it to a minimum.
All right. Thanks, everyone.