Why Are States Imposing Virus Curfews?

State and city leaders are trying to slow the spread of the coronavirus without full lockdowns. But whether curfews will help remains unclear.

“It’s going to have an immediate effect on our revenue,” said Jeff Castleberry, owner of Caz’s Pub in Tulsa, Okla., where the governor recently set a curfew. Mr. Castleberry said that the bar installed a filtration system and has taken fewer customers as a safety precaution, but that losing late business will cut deep.

“We’ve been trying to operate in the right, and operating that way has cost us about 25 percent of our revenue,” he said. With the curfew, he anticipated, “we’re going to lose half of that 75 percent.”

Mr. Gradisar, the mayor of Pueblo, said there wasn’t enough data yet to show whether the curfew has helped. He said that cellphone usage data, analyzed by the Colorado Department of Health, has demonstrated decreased mobility between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

“You say, ‘Don’t have private parties,’ ‘Don’t have Halloween parties,’ but that’s nearly impossible to enforce,” he said. “At least we’re breaking up the parties a little earlier.”

But like cities around the country, Pueblo has had a significant increase in cases. Given this spike, Mr. Gradisar said he and other local officials were “desperate to try anything at this point.”

Health experts said it was not clear how effective curfews could be. Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, said that while curfews might have a “modest impact,” they should be “considered as part of a whole series of interventions” that need to be sustained.

“There are no quick fixes here,” he said.

Dr. Helen Boucher, an infectious disease specialist at Tufts Medical Center, said that, because mask mandates, curfews and rules against gathering indoors are being put in effect together, it will be difficult to determine which made the biggest difference.

Via NYTimes

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