California’s New Curfew

Pamina Yung, Staff Writer

In response to the surge in COVID-19 cases, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new statewide curfew that has probably been the most restrictive lockdown since the start of quarantine in March. Between 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., residents who aren’t engaging in essential activities such as getting groceries or takeout, responding to an emergency, or walking their dogs are to stay home and avoid gathering with others. The new order, which affects around 37 million Californians or 94% of the state’s population, has been in action since the night of Nov. 21 and is to continue until the morning of Dec. 21. 

However, the new curfew has been enforced in only the 41 “purple tier” counties in the state and doesn’t apply to those experiencing homelessness. Restaurants and restaurant workers are regarded as essential and therefore are allowed to continue providing takeout and delivery, but are not permitted to allow customers to dine in and must end all close face-to-face operations by 10:00 p.m. daily. Restaurants functioning outdoors are to also cut their maximum capacities by half. Gyms, houses of worship, and movie theaters along with other entertainment venues are to be closed during this time. 

“Reducing the movement and mixing of individuals dramatically decreases COVID-19 spread, hospitalizations, and deaths,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the California Health and Human Services Secretary. “We may need to take more stringent actions if we are unable to flatten the curve quickly. Taking these hard, temporary actions now could help prevent future shutdowns.”

The state of California has a current total of just over one million confirmed cases, 9% of the national total, and over 18,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus.

“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm,” said Governor Newsom. “It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again.”

Los Angeles County is the state’s most populated county, holding about a third of California’s COVID-19 cases and nearly 40% of its deaths. Officials stated that if the number of COVID-19 cases in the county worsens, gatherings will be restricted to no more than fifteen people from no more than three different households. In addition, if the county receives a daily average of 4,000 cases over a five-day period, outdoor dining will be completely prohibited. If the situation intensifies, the county will impose a new 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew that exempts only essential workers and people seeking essential services. 

“Your decision to not physically distance yourself may kill someone,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in March after seeing the congested Venice Beach. “Don’t take risks, don’t mess around, don’t be selfish.”


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