Without enforcement, will CA curfew have any effect?

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On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new stay at home order that will go into effect in the state's "purple" counties on Saturday, Nov. 21, from the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

But some jurisdictions have already said that they may not enforce it, creating fear that the curfew may not accomplish what it's intended to do.

San Jose's police chief has announced that they will focus on educating people about the virus rather than issuing citations, and won’t use the curfew as probable cause to detain residents. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s department also said they won't be going to drastic measures to check up on people’s adherence to the rule. And some officials feel that enforcing the curfew would work against efforts to regain the community’s trust in the police system.

Even L.A. County, which has been hit hard by the virus throughout the pandemic and on Thursday had a record breaking 5,031 new infections, doesn’t plan to strictly enforce the rule. The Sheriff said enforcement will be an extreme last resort, but that they will respond to calls and complaints of too many people gathering together. Amidst the surge, the city of LA has been cracking down on the hosts of big house parties.

In his announcement of the curfew, Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the authorities have the tools to enforce the rule, and encouraged counties to do so.

“We are able to enforce it and we hope that if that tool is necessary that counties use it as appropriate."

However, many law enforcement agencies are relying on the honor system and gentle reminders of what the curfew is trying to accomplish.

UC Davis Infectious Disease expert Dr. Dean Blumberg told CBS-13 in Sacramento that anything that keeps people from mixing is a good thing.

"I don’t know if the curfew is going to be the be all end all, I’m not sure. I’m hopeful.”

The new overnight restrictions will last until Dec 21st.​