The nighttime curfew going into effect in most of California’s 58 counties Saturday night will not be strictly enforced by any SoCal sheriffs — a vow made individually by each agency in the region.
From Ventura to San Diego counties, sheriffs have said deputies will not be patrolling the streets, looking for people violating the public health order. Rather, they are hoping for voluntary compliance and don’t plan to actively enforce the new, state-issued coronavirus-related restrictions.
About 94% of the state’s 40 million residents live in the 41 counties placed under the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. The health order will remain in effect starting 10 p.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. Dec. 21. State officials have said it bans non-essential activities like social gatherings with other households and only permits essential activities like grocery shopping — much like the March stay-at-home order.
Restaurants can only serve takeout past 10 p.m., officials said.
The curfew only applies to counties in the purple tier of the state’s reopening plan, the most restrictive stage which prohibits gyms, movie theaters, restaurants and many other businesses from hosting customers indoors. Ventura, Orange and San Diego counties are all back in the purple tier after previously managing to get case rates low enough to make it into the less restrictive red tier.
The red tier allows the partial reopening of these businesses’s indoor operations and other easings of restrictions.
Now those counties must comply with the widespread stay-at-home order along with San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties, which have all consistently been in the purple tier.
“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic… We are sounding the alarm,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement released Thursday, three days after apologizing for violating the state’s health restrictions himself, attending a 12-person dinner while mask-less at the swanky French Laundry north of San Francisco.
“It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges,” Newsom said. “We’ve done it before and we must do it again.”
But among the Southern California sheriffs who have vowed to not actively enforce California’s new health order are some who have gone a step further, vowing to not respond to curfew-related calls.
In Orange County, where masks drew protests and even opposition from elected officials earlier in the pandemic, Sheriff Don Barnes said deputies will not respond to any such calls and questioned the…