With coronavirus cases expected to surge in NYC, de Blasio urges staggered commute times

March 9, 2020

Photo via WNYC/Flickr cc

Photo via WNYC/Flickr cc

The city thus far has said that public transportation will continue to operate normally (with increased cleaning measures, of course), but this weekend, after Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, Mayor de Blasio urged NYC residents to stagger their commute times to avoid rush hour. He also promoted biking or walking to work (despite the fact that the latter is not a feasible option for most), telecommuting, and avoiding crowded subway cars.

As of the time of publication, New York State had 109 confirmed cases of coronavirus, a 130 percent jump since Friday. In New York City, there are 16 confirmed cases; 86 tests are pending results. Last night, Columbia University suspended classes for two days and moved to online classes until spring break commences this weekend after someone connected to the university (thought to be a professor) went into self-quarantine, though the individual was not confirmed to have the virus.

“We are seeing more community transmission between people who have no direct connection to travel to one of the affected countries. I urge New Yorkers to remain vigilant—not alarmed—and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones. As we continue to see more cases of COVID-19, we will be providing as much guidance to New Yorkers as possible to keep our city safe,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement on Saturday.

On Monday morning, there were mixed messages on Twitter as to whether New Yorkers were heading the Mayor’s advice. While some commuters reported packed train cars, others showed pictures of desolate stations.

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