As COVID-19 cases skyrocket across the globe, many cities are turning back to curfews in desperate hopes to curb the spread of the disease. Many people wonder if a curfew will do any good. We’ve got a look into a few areas that are trying to make a difference by enforcing curfews.
The Thought Behind A Curfew
Massachusetts is one of the latest states to require residents to be in their homes between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The state is routinely seeing about 1200 cases a day, and those numbers aren’t slowing down. Besides wearing masks and social distancing, a curfew is aimed at lowering the curve. The thought behind an enforced curfew is that restaurants and bars close earlier. The earlier time is in hopes that people won’t lose their inhibitions that early in the night, which leads to carelessness regarding coronavirus safeguards.Read More »
Where’s The Evidence?
The problem is that any scientific evidence that supports a curfew slowing the virus remains to be seen. It’s tough to pinpoint where most people picked up the virus. Was it at the bar at 1 AM or riding the subway at noon? Is a curfew worth giving someone a citation for roaming around the grocery store at midnight? Some experts say “no.” An epidemiologist at Harvard’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health, William Hanage, says that stopping one’s evening an hour early probably won’t make a huge impact. A curfew may halt alcohol-induced decisions, but could lead to bigger issues.
Bigger Fish To Fry
A big problem can happen when those bars and restaurants close for the night as people flow into the streets. Where will they go? If they don’t go home, many people fear they will congregate in small places. If they choose to go to someone’s home, the risk of infection is higher. Some people believe these curfews are just small steps towards the big step of a lockdown.
Epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, Michael Levy, states the only thing that will curb the spread is to reduce contact with other people. Other experts say a curfew is just a distraction because a curfew just adds confusion. Some of these people believe the curfew should be more targeted towards limiting indoor restaurant dining. This is a place where most people are in close contact without wearing a mask while they eat.
France is pushing a lockdown in some of its hardest-hit areas. Other places, like Paris, are setting their own restrictions as they admit previous curfews have failed to stop the pandemic. The authorities can close bars and restaurants at a certain time each night. The thing they cannot do is go into every home to ensure there is not a private party or a private dinner with friends. The curfew can only go so far. The Italian regions worst hit by the pandemic put their lockdown into effect last week. This lockdown has not decreased the number of hospitalizations or cases yet. Only time will tell if this next step was the right one.
A curfew is not a cut and dry answer to the pandemic. Many people wonder how shifting hours will do any real difference. It will shorten the length of time people spend in a bar, but a person can get the virus if they were in the bar for one second or one hour. Staff at a bar or restaurant is also in charge of policing the rules for customers as the night gets later. It’s tough for some staff to ensure everyone is wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. As the night gets busier and busier, the staff doesn’t have the time to do their job and police everyone.
Curfew Time Questions
Another issue is the time of the curfew. Some experts agree that there are no studies that say that is the exact time to cut off alcohol. What time do people get drunk? Some people drink all day, so does a 10 PM curfew even matter? Many people say these policies would just force people to go to the bar earlier. They would just get drunk at an earlier time.
This pandemic has a mind of its own. As scientists work to find a vaccine and figure out its patterns, the rest of the world hangs by a thread of hope. Only time will tell if a curfew or more lockdowns will stop this virus.
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