Businesses in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will be closed as of 8pm tonight as part of a tri-state area agreement to contain the rampant spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced today that the states are working together to encourage people to stay home and practice social distancing.

The closures will impact casinos, racetracks restaurants, bars, gyms and movie theaters  which will remain in lockdown until further notice. All schools across the three states will also remain shut until health officials deem the situation sufficiently safe to allow pupils back.

Addressing state residents in a short video, Murphy said that everyone had a part to play in the efforts to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus pandemic and acknowledged that the closures would have widespread implications.

“We do not take any of these steps lightly,” he said. “We know that each comes with its own set of impacts on families, residents, communities and businesses. But at this moment our paramount concern must be to flatten the curve of new cases so we do not overload our healthcare system. We must all take seriously the need for social distancing that can help slow the spread of coronavirus.”

He concluded: “To all New Jerseyans, I wish you to be safe and to stay healthy. Let’s do this together. We will, assuming we all do our own part, each and every one of the nine million of us – including yours truly – we will get through this and we will be stronger than ever before. But play your part.”