California is imposing a one-night curfew for most residents as the most populous state is trying to contain the rise in coronavirus cases that it fears could tax its health care system. (November 1
Hundreds of protesters opposed the new evening in California, gathering in Huntington Beach, as the mandate to stay at home from 22:00 to 5:00 came into force.
Protesters, some waving large American flags, crossed the Pacific coast on foot amid thunderous horns in the town of Orange, about 35 miles south of Los Angeles.
Huntington Beach Police Ryan Riley told NBC in Los Angeles that the crowd of about 400 protesters – “some, not all” in masks – were mostly law-abiding and halved after 90 minutes. Riley said police did not intend to issue quotes about curfew violations, adding: “We are looking for compliance and trying to educate people.”
On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsum ordered curfew, which is due to last until December 21, as a measure to combat the growing number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The limited home stay order applies to 41 counties in California’s most restrictive opening level, covering 94% of the state’s nearly 40 million residents, and allows exceptions for core activities.
“The virus is spreading at a rate we have not seen since the beginning of this pandemic, and the next few days and weeks will be crucial to stopping the tide,” a statement from Newsom said. “We’re raising the alarm.”
Newsom apologized after it was reported that it had attended a friend’s dinner at a luxury restaurant in the Napa Valley in violation of safety instructions, which it had repeatedly promoted. Newsom called the decision a “bad mistake.”
Authorities said the purpose of the curfew was to prevent people from mixing and drinking, activities accused of causing COVID-19 infections, to jump after immersion several months ago. Dr. Mark Cullen, an infectious disease expert who recently retired from Stanford University, said the main goal was based on a reasonable interpretation of the data.
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“A lot of people get together, forgetting control – no masks, no social distancing, often indoors – in fact, a lot of that happens at night,” Cullen said. He doubted whether the limited evening hour would be effective.
California, the second state to register more than 1 million cases of coronavirus after Texas, set a record with nearly 15,500 new infections on Friday. Officials in the severely affected Los Angeles County, the largest in the country, are considering measures even tougher than curfew.
Contribution: Associated Press
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