statewide curfew

(Cindy Proaño / Daily Titan) 

A regional stay-at-home order went into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 6 for Southern California due to Intensive Care Units reaching less than 15% availability. While retail stores remain open at limited capacity, indoor and outdoor dining will continue to be prohibited along with private gatherings of any size and close sector businesses like personal care services.  

Southern California residents received an emergency alert on Tuesday to remind them of the order, which will be in effect through Christmas.

This has been added on top of the previously issued statewide curfew from Gov. Gavin Newsom on Nov. 21 that limits all non-essential activity and gatherings from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. until Dec. 21. 

However, this is a mistake on Newsom’s part. These statewide curfews and stay-at-home orders are practically pointless because early curfews, dining restrictions and limited intervention from law enforcement are not going to stop the spread of the coronavirus entirely. 

One of the reasons cited by Newsom for this temporary curfew is to reduce the number of social gatherings. However, many people seem indifferent to the orders as they have continued to attend and host social gatherings. 

Over the weekend, 158 people were arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at an underground party in Palmdale. 

There are people that feel that their constitutional rights are being taken away from them and that mandating whether or not they can visit friends or family is a violation of their freedoms. 

On Nov. 17, San Bernardino County filed a lawsuit against Newsom involving coronavirus restrictions. The lawsuit highlighted the county’s frustrations with the strict regulations for all communities rather than focusing on high-risk areas. With a curfew and now the regional stay-at-home order, it can make tempers flare even more in San Bernardino County.

With the holiday season in full effect, some families made sure to keep the capacity number lower than usual at their Thanksgiving gatherings, but others continued to gather in-person despite the statewide curfew and recommendations against non-essential travel. 

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, 1.17 million people were screened at airport security checkpoints, which was the highest number since the pandemic’s start, according to the Transportation Security Administration. 

Similar large gatherings and curfew rules have been prohibited by some sheriff departments, yet others like Orange County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County have decided not to enforce the temporary curfew. 

With local police having the option to take action, residents in the area won’t receive any harsh consequence for not complying, therefore making these restrictions ineffective. 

Since the temporary curfew began, protests have taken place including the “Curfew Breakers” protest in Huntington Beach to speak out against Newsom’s restrictions and his position in office. 

It’s blatantly obvious that many California residents are upset by the onset of greater limitations to their everyday lives and their jobs.

Just a few weeks ago, Los Angeles County announced the shut down of all outdoor dining. Yet as restaurants are stuck with takeout and delivery, it has not been very successful in slowing down the spread of the coronavirus as hospitalizations in Los Angeles have recently set a new record. 

Owners are concerned with California’s temporary curfew because of the toll it will take on their businesses. Many small businesses and restaurants have already permanently closed this year, and these shutdowns continue to make matters worse for those already struggling to keep their doors open. 

Banning indoor dining is reasonable, but banning outdoor dining complicates business operations. With the shutdowns set in place for the time being, it wrecks restaurants in Los Angeles County as some near collapse, which could leave the same effects on businesses across Southern California.

Once this curfew is lifted, it should be the last time the state implements a shutdown of this size. So far these past two weeks, cases have still been high and not much seems to be changing. 

A curfew and business closures cannot entirely halt the spread of COVID-19. To slow it, there needs to be more strict enforcement against large gatherings.

Temporary stay-at-home orders could tear down driven businesses that are grinding endlessly. Some people will continue to pay no regard until the loophole is closed. Collectively, Americans need to do their part to slow the spread while having the freedom to keep their livelihood intact.

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