California COVID curfew reaction: For the greater good or government overreach?

For restaurants with late-night dining, the new 10 p.m. coronavirus curfew enacted by Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration on Thursday is yet another economic blow.

"It's a change, it seems every day things are changing and there's some new challenge to overcome," said Michael Kalkanis-Ellis, general manager of Jupiter Brewpub in Berkeley.

Jupiter has been open until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, serving wood-fired pizza and beer on an outdoor patio.

But when the curfew takes effect on Saturday, those extra money-making hours will disappear. 

"On those nights, I might have a waitlist of an hour and people out the door waiting to come in," said Kalkanis-Ellis, "but I just don't have enough tables to accommodate them all."

Limited to 30 tables outside and at the mercy of winter weather, Jupiter was already feeling the financial hit.

Kalkanis-Ellis monitored the state's announcement but was left with questions.

"Is it 10 o'clock for the guests to be out the door and the door locked or is it 10 o'clock for my staff to be out the door or is it 10 o'clock that everyone needs to be home?" 

As it turns out, selling meals-to-go past 10 p.m. is allowable under the curfew.

"If it's very temporary it shouldn't be too much of an issue," said Chase Carter, munching on a burger an In-n-Out in Alameda Thursday night.

"But it kind of depends on how long we're going to have to do this."

Added his companion Jasmine Sharma, also of Alameda: "As long as we flatter the curve eventually, I guess that's what matters."

The Stay at Home order will be in place for a month and can be extended.

It applies in all counties with widespread transmission, ranked in the state's purple tier.

Reacting to the curfew, people seem more informed and also more accepting than when the first such restrictions were enacted in March.

Those shelter edicts applied to daytime hours also, creating eerily empty streets and business districts across the Bay Area.

The new one applies from 10 pm to 5 am, when many people say they're at home anyway.

"All my classes are online, so I'm pretty much at my house," said Lexie Johnson, a UC Berkeley student. "I think the curfew is a good thing to do all we can to reduce cases, without a vaccine anything we do to be safe is important."

Another Cal student who gave his name as Shane agreed.

"If they're trying to stop social gatherings like parties at night, I can understand that, " he said, "and with a vaccine coming in the spring, we can hold off until then."

The order does allow members of the same household out after 10pm, as well as essential shopping for food and pharmacy items.

"I support it, I think the curfew is a good thing, especially with the Thanksgiving rush," said a Berkeley resident named Meghann, who was walking her dog and expects future late-night dog outings to be fairly solitary.  

"I'll take her on really quick walks and keep my mask on, just once around the block," said Meghann.

As for enforcement, voluntary compliance will be key as some law enforcement agencies are already lukewarm, or openly doubtful about it.

"Already there are quite a few businesses that don't adhere to every rule and I don't see any consequences from that," observed Kalkanis-Ellis.

Local agencies will likely respond to curfew complaints and issue warnings to begin with.

"People who don't want to wear a mask won't wear a mask and the people who want to stay out late will stay out late," said Kalkanis-Ellis. "So while I like the idea, I just don't know how much good it will really do."