Governor Imposes One-Month 10PM Curfew Throughout Most Of California

November 19, 2020

As COVID-19 infections increase around the country, California Governor Gavin Newsom today announced a curfew for purple tier counties, including San Diego County, that limit non-essential activities between 10pm and 5am. 

Gov. Newsom has issued an order aimed at reducing the statewide surge in coronavirus positive cases, which requires non-essential work, movement and gatherings to cease between 10pm and 5am. The order goes into effect this Saturday, November 21, and it applies to the 41 of the state's 58 counties that are in the purple tier, which includes San Diego County. On November 10, San Diego County was moved into California's dreaded purple tier of COVID-19 restrictions, meaning indoor operations will once again be forbidden at restaurants, bars, fitness centers, churches, museums, zoos, aquariums and more. California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly is holding a press conference at 3pm today where he's expected to formally announce the curfew. 

"The virus is spreading at a pace we haven't seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge," wrote Gov. Newsom in a press release issued November 19. "We are sounding the alarm. It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again."

Newsom has been facing intense criticisms and backlash over the last week after news broke he recently attended a 12-person birthday party indoors without masks at super-posh The French Laundry in Napa Valley. Other attendees at the dinner include California Medical Association CEO Dustin Corcoran, top California Medical Association lobbyist Janus Norman, and lobbyist and Axium Advisor partner Jason Kinney. Many deemed the outing as hypocritical following news last week that California became the second US state following Texas to surpass 1 million coronavirus cases.

Similar curfews have been imposed around the country in recent days as COVID-19 rates increase nationally and around the globe. Last week, New York City mandated that all businesses with liquor licenses close indoor and outdoor dining by 10pm. The California curfew, which has been labeled as a "limited Stay at Home Order," is set to remain in effect through December 21 at 5am for counties in the state's purple tier. San Diego County will be eligible to be removed from the state's purple tier on December 1, although spiking coronavirus rates have continued and that possibility remains very unlikely. 

San Diego County officials have stated that the order does not have any additional impact on restaurants, as they are already required to close by 10pm. The county was unable to answer questions about how the curfew order will be enforced against everyday citizens, but did announce at an unscheduled press briefing that San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore is allocating eight full-time deputies to investigate health order complaints and issue citations in cases where businesses and residents refuse to comply. The county continues to issue daily cease-and-desist orders to non-complying businesses. 

Read California's full order below:

State of California—Health and Human Services Agency
California Department of Public Health

November 19, 2020

All Californians

Limited Stay At Home Order

Upon assessment of the recent, unprecedented rate of rise in increase in COVID-19 cases across California, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is taking immediate actions to prevent the spread of the virus. These immediate actions will help reduce community spread, protect individuals at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19, and prevent the state's health care delivery system from becoming overwhelmed. Reducing movement and mixing of individual Californians is critical to decreasing transmission, hospitalizations, and deaths. 

Therefore, as the State Public Health Officer, I am issuing a Limited Stay at Home order, effective in counties under Tier One (Purple) of California's Blueprint for a Safer Economy, requiring that all gatherings with members of other households and all activities conducted outside the residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation with members of other households cease between 10:00pm PST and 5:00am PST, except for those activities associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure[1] or required by law. This order does not apply to persons experiencing homelessness. Nothing in this order prevents any number of persons from the same household from leaving their residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation, as long as they do not engage in any interaction with (or otherwise gather with) any number of persons from any other household, except as specifically permitted herein.  

This Limited Stay at Home Order will reduce opportunities for disease transmission with the goal of decreasing the number of hours individuals are in the community and mixing with individuals outside of their household. Every intervention to decrease mixing of households is critical during this unparalleled increase in case rate rise of about 50 percent during the first week in November. In particular, activities conducted during 10:00pm to 5:00am are often non-essential and more likely related to social activities and gatherings that have a higher likelihood of leading to reduced inhibition and reduced likelihood to adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures (e.g., wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance). 

This order shall take effect on November 21, 2020, at 10:00pm PST. 

For counties that move into Tier One (Purple) after the effective date of this Order, the terms of this Order shall apply at 10:00pm PST on day two after the county is assigned to Tier One (Purple). For the purpose of counting days, day one shall be the first full day following the date of the tier assignment.

This order remains in effect until 5:00am PST on December 21, 2020, and may be extended or revised as needed.

This order is issued pursuant to Health and Safety Code sections 120125, 120130(c), 120135, 120140, 120145, 120175,120195 and 131080; EO N-60-20, N-25-20, and other authority provided for under the Emergency Services Act; and other applicable law.

Signature Doctor Erica Pan

Erica S. Pan, MD, MPH
Acting State Public Health Officer
California Department of Public Health

[1] See the Essential Workforce web page for full list of California's Critical Infrastructure workforce.

This is a developing story. We will update this post as we learn more.