WALNUT CREEK (KPIX 5) — With the state’s COVID curfew set to take effect at 10 p.m. Saturday evening, on Friday many Bay Area residents were expressing frustrations with pandemic fatigue and skepticism over the governor’s plan.
The curfew that is different from the stay at home order that was issued by California health officials last spring.
This latest order specifically applies to counties in the state’s most restrictive purple tier according to California’s Blueprint for a Safe Economy website.
41 of the 58 counties in California are currently in the purple tier. That means the curfew applies for about 95 percent of state residents, including all of the Bay Area except for San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo counties that are in the less restrictive red tier.
San Francisco Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax warned on Friday that the latest spike in COVID-19 cases is edging San Francisco towards the purple tier, where the city could end up by the weekend.
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Restaurants and bars that are operating outdoors have been ordered to stop serving and close by 10pm under the new order that starts Saturday night. Takeout and deliveries will still be allowed.
Business owners lamented the impact that the new restrictions would have on them.
“It’s been a really rough year. We’re all in the same boat. The restaurant is getting more affected than any other businesses,” said Fevzi Vinc of Lokanta Restaurant in Walnut Creek.
People can go grocery shopping, and for walks without other households, but the curfew prohibits residents from leaving their homes to do non-essential work or to gather between 10 p.m. at night and 5 a.m. in the morning until December 21st. Officials have said that the new order could be extended if necessary.
Some residents were skeptical, arguing that an arbitrary restriction like a curfew would not affect the spread of the virus
“It infringes on our rights. It’s not gonna stop the virus from 10 p.m. ’til 5 a.m.,” said Jennifer Kief.
“I think if anything, if it helps slow the spread of coronavirus, I support it,” said Orinda resident Naomi Greenstone.
The Governor issued the order Thursday by statement, instead of his usual video news conference.
Due to the rise in #COVID19 cases, CA is issuing a limited Stay at Home Order.
Non-essential work and gatherings must stop from 10pm-5am in counties in the purple tier.
This will take effect at 10pm on Saturday and remain for 1 month.
Together–we can flatten the curve again.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) November 19, 2020
“Part of issuing this decree by statement was really having to avoid the media having to avoid answering questions why he’s been a hypocrite, why he’s had such a difficult time managing through this crisis recently,” said Hoover Institution Fellow Lanhee Chen. “I think all those questions are questions he frankly didn’t want to deal with.”
“You can’t tell someone don’t do this and govern us like this and that and go out do it,” said Kief.
Local authorities could implement more stringent rules, but how this curfew will be enforced is still unclear. A number of police departments in the Bay Area as well as the California Highway Patrol have released statements saying they would not attempt to enforce the curfew or view people being out after 10 p.m. in affected counties as probable cause.
The state is reporting a weekly average of more than 9,900 COVID-19 cases per day, more than double the average two weeks ago.