California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a curfew Thursday for all counties in the purple tier -- including San Diego -- due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
In a tweet, Newsom said nonessential work and gatherings must stop from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in counties in the most restrictive purple tier.
"This will take effect at 10 p.m. on Saturday and remain for one month," he tweeted. "Together -- we can flatten the curve again."
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
The curfew will be in effect from Nov. 21 at 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. on Dec. 21 but "may be extended or revised as needed," according to the state public health order.
Naturally, the implementation of the curfew in San Diego left residents wondering what effect this latest coronavirus curveball would have upon their lives.
Nearly coinciding with the Newsom's announcement was the second hastily called coronavirus update this week by San Diego County officials, including San Diego County Board of Supervisors chairman Greg Cox.
"The public health order that was just issued by Secretary Ghaly will go into effect on Saturday and basically it doesn’t have any impact on restaurants in San Diego County because they have already been subject to a previous county public health order to be closed by 10 p.m," Cox said.
While Cox is technically correct -- restaurants couldn't admit new customers after 10 p.m.-- those diners were allowed to stay on-site till 11 p.m. to finish their meals. Now, though, they'll need to clean their plates and be gone by 10 p.m.
Which will be the case just about everywhere in San Diego -- including gatherings at private residences
"… All gatherings with members of other households and all activities conducted outside the residence, lodging or temporary accommodation with members of other households cease between 10 p.m. PST and 5 a.m. PST, except for those activities associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure or required by law," reads the official order issued by the California Department of Public Health on Thursday. "This order does not apply to persons experiencing homelessness. Nothing in this order prevents any number of persons from the same household from leaving their residence, lodging or temporary accommodation, as long as they do not engage in any interaction with (or otherwise gather with) any number of persons from any other household, except as specifically permitted herein."
While the state is urging residents to be home by 10 p.m., there are still things they can do at night, including:
- Going to the grocery or drug store
- Going out for a walk/walking a dog
- Get takeout from a restaurant (which can stay open for this purpose only)
And, of course, people will be allowed to do any of those things with members of their households. The curfew is intended to discourage gatherings.
The moves by the state come as the number of coronavirus infections spike both locally, statewide, and nationally.
“This is an attempt to have everyone understand the severity of the situation we face and to try and gain a wider-spread appreciation of the danger that gatherings of multiple households together pose to the state of California," County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said at Thursday's briefing. "I think the vast majority of folks will hear this and will understand this and will understand we’re doing this to protect the entire region, the entire state.”
One way the county can presumably cut the curfew short would be reducing the coronavirus cases and climbing back into the red tier. Counties falling into the purple tier from now till the curfew's end, however, will have to abide by the curfew as well.
The curfew is certain to meet with opposition in some quarters, of course. Mayor Kevin Faulconer didn't voice outright opposition to the curfew, but said he encourages "personal responsibility," and criticized Newsom for not announcing the order himself.
County Supervisor Jim Desmond, who has organized rallies in protest of commercial restrictions, posted a lengthy Twitter thread criticizing the governor's curfew.
There is also some debate as to curfews' efficacy.
“It may have an impact," immunologist Carl Ware told NBC 7 this week. "It might have a 5% impact. You know, it’s not gonna solve the entire problem. So that’s part of the issue, is trying to literally plug all these routes of viral spread."
What's not yet clear is if and how the curfew will be enforced in regards to private citizens.
"Just saw that minutes before this press conference, so I don’t want to give any misinformation without knowing all the facts," San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said at Thursday's county update.
A few private citizens raised points in support of, and against, the curfew Thursday night.
"I think we do whatever we gotta do to keep the cases down and get back to normal."
"It's a bummer, no doubt about that."
"I think it will be tough, but I think it's needed to kind of move forward as a country as a whole."
"Strongly don't feel like this is any way shape or form helping our community at all."
"This should not be soley the responsibility of small business owners and restauranteurs and coffee shop owners to bare the brunt of this. We need to share."
"If it's for another six to eight weeks and instead of it lasting another eight months, that's just gonna be better for everybody in the long run."
"Placing these restraints on our living situations is not going to help the situation. People are going to be rebellious. People are going to feel like they are trying to control us."
"I think we need it, but I just think it's unfortunate for the businesses, especially out here because it thrives on the nightlife down here. The eating, staying out late."
"For us, we just want it to go away so we can get our country back. Some pain now for a short while in order to be done with it soon."