In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo moved Friday to sharply limit outdoor activity across the state, including by ordering nonessential businesses to keep all of their workers home.
His wide-ranging executive order, which takes effect on Sunday at 8 p.m., was issued as the number of known cases in the state jumped to over 7,800.
“These provisions will be enforced,” Mr Cuomo said at a briefing in Albany. “These are not helpful hints.”
Then, within the space of an hour Friday afternoon, several other big states followed suit.
Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut issued an order similar to Mr Cuomo’s, and Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said he planned to order on Saturday that all nonessential businesses in that state shut down as well.
And in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a statewide “stay at home” order on Friday, asking all 12 million residents to leave the house only when necessary.
All nonessential businesses must also stop operating under the order, which is effective at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“I don’t come to this decision easily,” Mr Pritzker said at an afternoon news conference. “I fully recognize that, in some cases, I am choosing between people’s lives and saving people’s livelihood. But ultimately, you can’t have a livelihood if you don’t have your life.”
Their moves were announced as California woke up Friday to new rules closing the state’s nonessential retail shops and sharply limiting outdoor movement after Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered Californians — all 40 million of them — to stay in their houses as much as possible.
There was initially confusion there over how the order would be enforced and interpreted, but Californians were told they could still take walks and leave their neighbourhoods to hike or go to the beach, as long as they were able to practice social distancing.