Times Square Employees Still Working, Worrying About Coronavirus

Marla Diamond
March 18, 2020 - 10:53 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Some New Yorkers in Times Square are still working despite coronavirus – and worrying about what a shelter-in-place might mean for their livelihood.

"Because the things is this, I live paycheck to paycheck so, if I'm not able to pay my rent or my mortgage or whatever the case may be, what is the next step?" said Julian Williams, a construction worker. "Am I going to be homeless?" 

Williams is still riding the subway and clocking into work. As is Joe, an employee at the Renaissance Hotel near Times Square, who says that there are only 11 guests in the 312-room hotel. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that he was considering a shelter-in-place order for the city.

Later that evening, Gov. Andrew Cuomo denied that shelter-in-place was under consideration. "No one is going to lock you in your home," Cuomo said in an interview. 

San Francisco has already implemented such an order, which allows people to leave their home only for necessary supplies and medical care. The order requires that all non-essential employees stay home, and leaving the house can be considered a misdemeanor, carrying possible fines or jail time.

Many in New York are wondering what exactly a shelter in place order might look like in a city with 8.3 million residents and whether it can be enforced.