California · COVID-19 · Highlight

Newsom rolls out monthlong curfew for 94% of Calif. population

California Gov. Gavin Newsom enacted a monthlong curfew for counties in the purple tier of reopening.

News of an enacted curfew comes three days after Newsom shook-up the state’s reopening guidelines, sending 94 percent of the state to purple tier status – governed under the most restrictive reopening rules.

The order itself restricts “all gatherings with members of other households and all activities conducted outside the residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation with members of other households.”

Though the curfew – running from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. every day – is crafted by state leaders, the Newsom administration is expecting local governments to enforce the six-hour nightly curfew.

The curfew, beginning at 10 p.m. Saturday, will conclude at 5 a.m. December 21.

Newsom’s hopes of a six-hour reprieve from public interaction are likely to run headlong into the realities of local government action.

In the San Joaquin Valley, no county previously in the red tier has stated it would actively enforce Newsom’s shift back to purple status. Instead, they have relied on voluntary compliance of businesses and residents.

Thursday, a number of local government officials mused about the efficacy of a curfew – jokingly pointing out that coronavirus spreads regardless of time.

A survey of local law enforcement agencies following Newsom’s announcement confirmed two things: first, that the state’s Office of Emergency Services had no expectation that local law enforcement would actively enforce the order and that nearly every law enforcement agency in the San Joaquin Valley would either emphasize voluntary enforcement or outright refused to enforce the order.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, during a Thursday briefing following the announcement, echoed that sentiment.

“From the very beginning, we have not enforced these orders. We are not going to make criminals out of normally law-abiding citizens. We’ve got a lot of things to do,” she said. 

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.