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Mayor DeBlasio: Barclays Center, Madison Square Garden could be closed ‘for months’

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Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency in the city on Thursday, saying the coronavirus outbreak “could easily be a a six-month crisis.”

Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden will likely be closed for months to try to contain the fast-spreading, he said.

Earlier Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned gatherings of 500 or more people across the state “for the foreseeable future.”

“This is for over 500 people, and so they’re never going to have events at those places under 500 people,” DeBlasio said, citing venues like Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden. “It’s not a binding commitment, but we’re saying, our estimate is, this will go through September. That’s six months. I think that’s the right way to think about it right now.”

The decisions suggest that even if the NBA wants to resume play, it will have to get around the city and state’s emergency measures. The NBA suspended play “until further notice.”

“The last 24 hours have been very, very sobering,” de Blasio said at a press conference. “Yesterday morning seems like a long time ago. We got a lot of information in the course of a day yesterday and a lot changed then, then last night it just seemed the world turned upside down in the course of just a few hours.”

DeBlasio noted that other nations who have faced the corona virus are still struggling.

“What makes you think that the virus in China, the virus in South Korea, the virus in Italy wasn’t going to react any differently than the virus here?” he said. “You are going to see the same trajectory that you saw in China, South Korea and Italy, and it is going to happen here as the virus spreads because of the way it is actually contagious.”

Cuomo said much the same thing.

He said the state is trying to limit the contagion by reducing “density,” that is events where a large number of people gather in a close environment. There are currently at least 328 confirmed cases in New York, he said, 112 of which are new. But if the state’s actual cases were “ten times that, I would not be surprised,” he said.

The Nets have nine home games left.