De Blasio urges New Yorkers to prepare to shelter in place

Data pix.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New Yorkers on Tuesday afternoon to prepare for the possibility that there could be a shelter in place order within the next two days, though Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose approval would be required for such a move, downplayed the possibility earlier in the day.

"I think New Yorkers should be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter in place order," de Blasio, a Democrat, said during a press briefing. "It has not happened yet but it is definitely a possibility at this point. I believe that decision should be made in the next 48 hours, and it's a very, a very difficult decision."

De Blasio said his team was in touch with the governor's office about how to proceed.

Such a drastic move to combat the spread of coronavirus would follow a similar order issued in Northern California that affects nearly 7 million people.

But Cuomo, who is also a Democrat, had dismissed the possibility that New York City residents will be asked to quarantine.

"We hear New York City is going to quarantine itself. That is not true. That cannot happen," Cuomo said during a press conference. "It cannot happen legally. No city in the state can quarantine itself without state approval. And I have no interest whatsoever and no plan whatsoever to quarantine any city."

Earlier on CNN's "New Day," de Blasio told CNN's Alisyn Camerota "we're absolutely considering that" when asked if New York was considering a measure similar to California's order.

"I mean, right now we have taken a series of steps to reduce the number of people who are circulating around. But we're going to look at all other options and it could get to that for sure. It could get to that for the whole country," de Blasio said.

The mayor also said that although the drastic measure was possible, he is concerned about the lack of medical supplies and capacity. He did not provide additional details about how the city could legally implement a shelter in place order.

Health officials in Northern California have ordered residents to stay home. Health services, grocery stores, gas stations, banks and food delivery services will remain open, as will mass transit for travel to and from essential services.

New York state has taken several moves to address the spiraling crisis. Cuomo has issued an executive order to increase hospital capacity in the state and called the federal government to use the Army Corps of Engineers to build temporary medical facilities. The state is producing its own hand sanitizer to deal with commercial shortages.

On Monday, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people to slow the spread of the virus.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.