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Police chiefs, sheriff won’t enforce governor’s curfew
curfew art

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in California, the California Department of Public Health is implementing a limited curfew for the next month in counties currently in the purple tier.

However, local law enforcement officials say they won’t be ticketing anyone who is out and about during those hours.

Stanislaus County Sheriff Jeff Dirkse said he has received numerous emails, messages and texts regarding Gov. Newsom’s newest order. “My position hasn’t changed since March 19. We will not be arresting anyone as a result of this or any other order. This is a public health crisis and we are not going to solve it by arresting people and making criminals out of the members of our community. 

The Sheriff’s Office will not come to your home, question you or your guests or pull you over for driving during the curfew. 

“We will continue to work with the county and the cities in our county to do education, as we have since day one, regarding the need to protect our community. 

“Do the right thing for our community, follow the guidelines and don’t worry about the cop in your rear view mirror. Unless you’re speeding. Then be worried.”

Ceres Police Chief Rick Collins took the same stand, issuing this statement:

“The Ceres Police Department has received many messages of concern regarding the Governor’s recent limited stay at home order. Our position, which is one of education and encouragement, has not changed since the start of this pandemic. 

“The Ceres Police Department will not arrest people for violating this order. Ceres Police Officers will not come to your home, stop your car, or interrogate your family based simply on this order. 

“Our position is aligned with other law enforcement agencies in the county. We will continue to work with public health and other officials to help educate the public of the need to protect the community. 

“Please, do the right thing for your community. Follow the guidelines. Stay home if you are feeling ill. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. As our city motto says, ‘Together, we Achieve.’”

The state-imposed curfew began Saturday, Nov. 2 and directs all gatherings with members of other households and all activities conducted outside the residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation with members of other households must cease from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

This order does not apply to persons experiencing homelessness.

“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,” said State Public Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan in a press release. “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 p.m. to 5 a.m. 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.”

The order does not apply to essential workers who have to be out for work during that time period.

The order also does not stop any number of persons from the same household from leaving their residence, as long as they do not engage in any gathering with people from other households.

The order applies to all counties currently in the purple (widespread tier). If a county is subsequently moved into the purple tier, the order will be implemented starting the second day in the tier.

As of now, the order will continue through Dec. 21, though the CDPH said it could be extended or revised if needed.

Sabra Stafford contributed to this report.