Despite the order of the state hour to limit the spread of COVID-19 this weekend, restaurants in Santa Clara County may remain open for export and people may still go for walks.
The only condition? Avoid contact with people from other households.
When the state-ordered night curfew begins at 10 pm on November 21, local police departments will need to make sure they are enforced.
But unlike the last hour in the evening in San Jose, set by the city during protests over the police murder of George Floyd in May, police say this time their reaction will be different.
“We had no prior knowledge that the state would impose a curfew,” said Officer Steve Aponte, a spokesman for the SJPD. “We will not use this evening as a probable reason for detaining people during curfew.”
In the face of heightened COVID-19 cases, Gov. Gavin Newsum announced this week that 41 counties in California will impose a night curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. On November 21 to December 21. These counties, including Santa Clara County, are at the purple level of the state, which is the most restrictive when it comes to reopening.
According to curfew, restaurants in these counties must close dinner outdoors from 22:00 to 5:00, but may remain open for removal.
Minor gatherings and businesses, such as retail stores, movie theaters, gyms and bars, are closed after 10 pm. Many closures, such as open-air bars and indoor dinners, had already taken effect when the county regressed to the purple line in November. 17.
However, curfew closure also includes driving cinemas, such as the West Drive Capitol Drive-in, although allowed in the purple layer, according to a county spokesman.
Representatives of the West Wind Capitol Drive did not respond to requests for comment.
Companies that are considered essential, such as grocery stores, food suppliers and critical industry manufacturing industries, can stay open after 10pm.
People can still shop for groceries or walk their dogs after 10 p.m., said Dr. Mark Galli, secretary of state for health and humanitarian services.
As for law enforcement, Aponte said San Jose police would focus on education, not citation.
A spokesman for Santa Clara County said each city’s police department would decide how to impose curfews.
Sgt. Michael Lowe, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, said “curfew will be another tool lawmakers can use to enforce the law,” but lawmakers will focus on more serious crimes in the community.
Scott Nice, executive director of the San Jose Center Association, said curfew would have a limited effect on many businesses in the center because most restaurants close before 10 p.m.
But for those who remain open until midnight, he said this is another constraint they must face during a pandemic.
“We have just made adjustments with the City Council so that our Al Fresco restaurants can serve until midnight,” Knies said. “It’s just another brick in the wall that companies have to work for to beat this spiral we’re in.”
Some restaurant owners who serve people outdoors after 10pm said it would hurt in the evening, but understood the rationale.
“From a business owner’s point of view, this is just another challenge that will hurt us,” said Randy Musterer, CEO of Sushi Confidential in San Jose and Campbell. “A lot of people like to go out a little later in the evening, eat and socialize.”
However, he said people are more likely to drink instead of eating at later hours, which is why he believes the state has ordered a curfew.
Cheesecake factory manager Ravi Medhacker said curfew would not necessarily stop where COVID-19 could spread.
“I feel that they are not taking other necessary steps to close other businesses during the day,” Medhecker said. “It just pushes people to stop what they’re doing before, but not necessarily to stop social gatherings.”
Reporters Lorraine Gabbert, Grace Stetson and Lloyd Alaban contributed to this article
Contact Mauricio La Plante at [email protected] or follow @mslaplantenews on Twitter.