March 16 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 10:14 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020
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9:45 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Minnesota orders temporary closures of restaurants, bars and other public places

Jim Mone/AP
Jim Mone/AP

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order on Monday requiring the temporary closure of all restaurants and bars to dine-in customers to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

Walz also ordered the temporary closure of other public places, including theaters, museums, fitness centers, and community clubs.

The order goes into effect Tuesday at 5 p.m. local time until March 27.

7:15 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Arizona's primary election will go on as planned Tuesday

From CNN's Andy Rose

Despite concerns about large groups of people being together in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, officials in Arizona say they will not be postponing the state's presidential primary scheduled for Tuesday. 

“Our election leaders have been working overtime to ensure that voting is safe,” Gov. Doug Ducey said at a news conference Monday.

Only Democrats will be going to the polls in Arizona on Tuesday. The Arizona Republican Party decided last year not to hold a primary, instead planning to give all of the state’s 2020 delegates to President Donald Trump without opposition.

Although Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has the authority to postpone the election in an emergency, she said, “We have no guarantee that there will be a safer time to hold this election in the near future.”

Hobbs said the decision is also in the best interests of the workers who are needed to tabulate the results.

"There are thousands of workers in communities across the state that must continue the job of counting the ballots in the days following the election,” Hobbs said. “The longer we wait, the more difficult and dangerous this will become.”

7:40 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Regal Cinemas will close its theaters until further notice

From CNN's Dave Alsup

An employee waits at an empty Regal Cinemas movie theatre in Washington, DC, on March 15.
An employee waits at an empty Regal Cinemas movie theatre in Washington, DC, on March 15. Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Regal Cinemas announced on Monday the closure of all of its theaters as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The company posted a statement on Facebook about the closures, which start Tuesday.

"Regal announces closure of all theatre locations starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020, as a precaution amid the current circumstances. All theatres will remain closed until further notice. Please check back soon. We look forward to serving you again as soon as possible," the company said in the statement.

Regal has 7,211 screens and 549 theaters in 42 states, according to the company's website.  

7:04 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have left the hospital after coronavirus diagnosis

From CNN's Chloe Melas

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have left the hospital and are now self-quarantined at their residence in Australia as they continue to recover from novel coronavirus, Leslee Dart, a representative for Hanks, told CNN in a statement.

Hanks and Wilson announced they were diagnosed with COVID-19 and had been been hospitalized in isolation since last Thursday. They shared periodic updates on their illness and recovery on social media over the weekend.

The two were originally in Australia for pre-production on a film about Elvis Presley, in which Hanks is set to play Presley's manager.

7:00 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Georgia will close all public schools starting Wednesday

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp ordered all public schools to close starting Wednesday until March 31.

Read his full statement:

"To keep our students, teachers, and administrators safe and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, I am ordering the closure of all public elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools in Georgia from March 18, 2020 to March 31, 2020. This measure is critical to reducing local transmission in communities across our state, and I ask Georgians to continue to follow best practices - washing their hands regularly, isolating the elderly and chronically ill, and avoiding large events if possible - in the days and weeks ahead."
7:51 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Ohio judge denies governor's request to move presidential primary

From CNN's Ross Levitt

Gene J. Puskar/AP
Gene J. Puskar/AP

Ohio will join three other states in holding its Democratic presidential primary as scheduled on Tuesday after a court denied a request from the governor to move the state's contest.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine had asked the court to move the primary election to June due to coronavirus concerns. The court’s denial comes as the spread of the virus has caused a major disruption to American life as government officials work to stem the pandemic. 

Illinois, Florida and Arizona will also hold their elections Tuesday as planned.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this headline and story incorrectly said the Ohio primary would be delayed. A judge denied the request, and the primary will go on tomorrow as scheduled.

6:59 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

NASCAR postpones all races through May 3

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

NASCAR announced Monday that it is postponing all races through May 3 with plans to return to competition in Martinsville, Virginia.

NASCAR also said it still intends to hold all 36 of its planned races this season. NASCAR had postponed last weekend's event at Atlanta Motor Speedway and their upcoming events at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend.

6:51 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

Los Angeles County Sheriff releases inmates early due to coronavirus concerns

From CNN's Sarah Moon

In response to concerns over the coronavirus, Los Angeles County is releasing inmates early and is reducing the number of arrests in the county, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference Monday.

They have reduced the population of jails by releasing inmates with less than 30 days left of their sentence. On February 28, when the county first started taking actions, they had 17,076 people in custody. As of Monday, they have 16,459 people, Villanueva said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is directing local agencies to cite and release everyone they can. Authorities are being directed to seek medical attention first for anyone showing symptoms before booking them, the sheriff said.

The number of arrests have been reduced from an average of 300 per day throughout Los Angeles County to about 60 arrests a day, Villanueva said.

There have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the county jails, he said.

7:15 p.m. ET, March 16, 2020

"Saturday Night Live" suspends production until further notice

From CNN's Rebekah Riess

Michael Che and Cecily Strong during the March 7 episode of Saturday Night Live.
Michael Che and Cecily Strong during the March 7 episode of Saturday Night Live. Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images)

"Saturday Night Live" has halted production until further notice and their episode slated for March 28 will not air, a NBCUniversal spokesperson told NBC News on Monday.

NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC News.

"The safety of our employees continue to be our top priority. We will monitor the situation closely and make decisions about future shows on an ongoing basis as further information develops," the spokesperson said to NBC News.