New York City’s Mayor has ordered restaurants and cafes to only sell food to take out, with nightclubs, theatres and concert venues being closed.
In a written statement, he said: “This is not a decision I make lightly.
“These places are part of the heart and soul of our city. They are part of what it means to be a New Yorker. But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality.”
Similar measures have taken place in other cities, with mayor’s ordering restaurants, nightclubs, and gyms being ordered to close.
We look at the different options the government have in responding to the pandemic.
Military aid to the civil authorities (MACA)
Under MACA, armed forces can be used to support civil organisations during civil emergencies, this can be anything from a flood to war.
Soldiers could be used to support local councils, the NHS, and emergency services.
Should members of the emergency service need to go into isolation, soldiers would be placed within the Police, Fire, and ambulance service to sustain numbers.
Civil Contingencies Act 2004
Also available to HM Government are sweeping powers under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.
This would allow ministers to impose restrictions on people’s movements during times of crisis.
This could range from minor restrictions in certain areas, to sweeping closures and curfews.
Armed forces would be deployed to support the Police in enforcing the restrictions, avoiding the possibility of civil disorder, riot, and looting.
Safeguards introduced following the discovery of Harold Shipman’s crimes are to be relaxed.
Emergency legislation is to be put before MPs will relax strict rules on registration of deaths and cremation to ease the burden on the NHS.
Powers will also be introduced to allow the compulsory purchase of plots of land for to be used as large burial sites.
Legislation to be published this coming week will allow the government to ban large public events.