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COVID Curfew Meets with Strong Skepticism. So, What’s the Point?



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The newest COVID-19 lockdown measure — a limited late-night curfew in most of California — has been met with skepticism by many who are weary of months of limits on their movements.

How effective, some ask, will California’s new overnight stay-at-home order be in curbing the pandemic? The rule bans gatherings among people of different households between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and prohibits activities outside the home with members of other households, except for essential errands or essential work, in the counties of California, like Fresno, in the most restrictive reopening tier.

There is no question new restrictions will hurt already struggling businesses and bring more misery to people already feeling isolated by the pandemic. But there is also evidence that the moves are logical as California enters a dangerous phase of the pandemic, with infections raging and the holidays approaching.

Some experts and officials say they have good reason to believe that shutting down public places where people gather — in close proximity and without masks because they’re eating and drinking — can begin to drive down the growth in coronavirus cases.

State officials acknowledge that the success of the order largely depends on Californians voluntarily adhering to it, though authorities will be able to enforce the rule as a state health order should they choose to do so.

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