December 3, 2020
California under curfew in attempt to beat back virus
California officials are pinning hopes to reduce the spread of coronavirus onto a 10pm-5am curfew that took effect Saturday night as infections rise at an unprecedented rate — even though the overnight stay-at-home order will go largely unenforced.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced the curfew, which forbids nonessential activity after 10 p.m. in purple-tiered counties, on Thursday; however, a combination of lax enforcement, a lack of county uniformity and the limited nature of the curfew has experts questioning its effectiveness.

Officials from several rural areas of Northern California — which had largely been spared widespread infection during the summer but which now find themselves in the most restrictive purple tier as cases mount — have broadly criticized the curfew as an overreach of executive authority.

Newsom has contended that the curfew — which effects 94% of California’s 40 million residents — is crucial to stopping the spread of the virus as thousands more are infected every day.

“Letting our guard down could put thousands of lives in danger and cripple our health care system,” Dr. Erica Pan, the state’s acting public health officer, said in a statement.

California is recording its highest daily increases of cases yet. The last record for daily infections was set over the summer, during another peak that will likely be overshadowed by the nascent winter surge.

The newest restrictions require people to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. unless they are responding to an emergency, shopping for groceries, picking up takeout or walking their dogs. The curfew will last until Dec. 21, with a possible extension if rapidly worsening trends don’t improve.

Authorities say the focus is on keeping people from social mixing and drinking — the kinds of activities that are blamed for causing COVID-19 infections to soar after dipping only a few months ago.

Story Date: November 30, 2020
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