Soon more than 1 in 5 Americans will be under orders to stay mostly indoors.
One by one, localities and now some of the nation’s biggest states are beginning to limit people’s movements as they struggle to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus before fast-growing caseloads overwhelm their hospitals.
In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo moved Friday to sharply limit outdoor activity across the state, including by ordering nonessential businesses to keep all of their workers home. His wide-ranging executive order, which takes effect on Sunday at 8 p.m., was issued as the number of known cases in the state jumped to over 7,800.
“These provisions will be enforced,” Mr. Cuomo said at a briefing in Albany. “These are not helpful hints.”
Then, within the space of an hour Friday afternoon, several other big states followed suit. Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut issued an order similar to Mr. Cuomo’s, and Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said he planned to order on Saturday that all nonessential businesses in that state shut down as well.
And in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a statewide “stay at home” order on Friday, asking all 12 million residents to leave the house only when necessary. All nonessential businesses must also stop operating under the order, which is effective at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“I don’t come to this decision easily,” Mr. Pritzker said at an afternoon news conference. “I fully recognize that, in some cases, I am choosing between people’s lives and saving people’s livelihood. But ultimately, you can’t have a livelihood if you don’t have your life.”
Their moves were announced as California woke up Friday to new rules closing the state’s nonessential retail shops and sharply limiting outdoor movement, after Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered Californians — all 40 million of them — to stay in their houses as much as possible. There was initially confusion there over how the order would be enforced and interpreted, but Californians were told they could still take walks and leave their neighborhoods to hike or go to the beach, as long as they were able to practice social distancing.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans also issued a stay at home order on Friday, asking the city’s 390,000 residents to go out for “critical needs only.”
States and localities announced the new rules as the death toll in the United States surpassed 200, and as Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., recorded their first deaths. There have now been deaths in more than half the states, with the most in Washington State, New York and California.
New York will allow healthy people under age 70 to go out for groceries and medicines, and to exercise and walk outside, as long as they stay six feet away from others. Mass transit will continue to run so that health care workers and other people with other essential jobs can get to work, but people will be urged not to use it unless absolutely necessary. Nonessential gatherings of any size will be banned.
And certain essential businesses will be allowed to remain open, including: grocers, health care providers, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, banks, hardware stores, laundromats, child-care providers, auto repair, utilities, warehouses and distributors, plumbers and other skilled contractors, animal-care providers, transportation providers, construction companies and many kinds of manufacturers.
The Senate is close to a deal for a $1 trillion rescue plan.
Senators neared a bipartisan deal on Friday on a sweeping $1 trillion economic stabilization package to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, as lawmakers and President Trump’s top advisers raced to work through differences and struck crucial compromises on legislation that could be enacted within days.
Democratic and Republican negotiators were close to agreement Friday evening on providing expanded unemployment benefits for workers affected by the virus, including self-employed workers and people whose hours have been reduced by the dimming of economic activity as large parts of the economy shut down to slow the disease’s spread.
A person familiar with the agreement, speaking on condition of anonymity because it was not yet final, said the benefits would come close to covering the full lost wages for a typical worker.
Democrats were prepared to drop their opposition to several large corporate tax cuts as part of the compromise. And Republicans were ready to agree to a direct payment that would apply equally to workers with incomes up to $75,000 per year, before phasing out and ending altogether for those earning more than $99,000. The two sides were also near agreement on providing assistance for state and local governments that are set to lose tax revenues amid the crisis.
Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, said he hoped to strike a deal in principle by midnight on Friday, an ambitious goal given the wide divergence between the two parties over…
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