SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Since California officials announced they would be issuing a curfew to limit the spread of the coronavirus, local law enforcement agencies have been saying they will not be enforcing it.
The curfew is meant to keep people inside and away from crowds, but how effective can a curfew be without enforcement?
“I think it’s necessary, I think it’s time we take it seriously and basically do what we need to do to get back to normal,” said Jorge Cobian.
Other people dining on R Street Thursday night said they don’t think the state should be placing restrictions on where and when they can go places.
“We like our freedom,” explained Joe Price. “We are not going to listen to someone tell us we cant see Grandma, or our brother, or our family and friends, it’s not going to work.”
Price, who was dining with friends Thursday, said he is worried about the impact on businesses.
“It doesn’t help anybody, who it’s hurting is businesses, because the citizens will get together, they will eat, they will drink, play games. It’s the businesses that I think will ultimately be hurt,” Price said.
When the clock strikes 10 p.m. Saturday, dining hot spots in Midtown Sacramento should be empty. The curfew impacts counties in the most-restrictive purple tier, which includes Sacramento County, and requires non-essential businesses to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
CBS13 asked diners if they believe people will follow the curfew.
“Absolutely not, absolutely not,” said Mark Jones. “I think it is just a bunch of tomfoolery. Getting shut down early or staying open later, what does it matter?”
Others like Jean Axel Kouaeil want to see strict enforcement.
“If there is people out at 10 p.m., I think there should be some sort of consequence. I don’t think it should be that severe but that is obviously how you enforce rules, there needs to be consequence,” said Kouaeil.
Restaurants who are already serving food outside say this adds another blow to an already difficult year.
“It’s already a difficult time with the cold weather and everything we’ve lost a lot. We’ve had to lay off quite a few staff already. Now this is going to require us to close sooner,” said Carmela Cervantes, General Manager at Broderick.
CBS13 asked law enforcement from around our area including El Dorado, Placer, Yuba, Sutter counties, as well as Sacramento and Roseville if they plan on enforcing the new order, they all said no.
In a statement, Modesto Police Chief Galen Carroll said, “This order does put law enforcement in a very tough position. Just as we are trying to rebuild trust and relationships in our communities.”
Before the curfew was announced, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said he will not dispatch officers for non-compliance.
“The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office will not be determining — including entering any home or business — compliance with, or enforcing compliance of, any health or emergency orders related to curfews, staying at home, Thanksgiving or other social gatherings inside or outside the home, maximum occupancy, or mask mandates,” Jones said in a press release.
So without law enforcement issuing fines, how effective is a curfew?
“Anything that can be done to limit social interaction, to increase social distancing, is appropriate,” said UC Davis Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Dean Blumberg.
Blumberg believes that even if only some people listen, it could help.
“I don’t know if the curfew is going to be the be all end all, I’m not sure,” he explained. “I’m hopeful, the alternative to being hopeful is to just give up.”
Several law enforcement agencies say they will be relying on education, as they have throughout the pandemic. Stanislaus County Sheriff Jeff Dirkse said his position has not changed since the start of the pandemic.
“We will not be arresting anyone as a result of this or any other order. This is a public health crisis and we are not going to solve it by arresting people and making criminals out of the members of our community,” he said.
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