Closed sign symbolizing the closing of restaurants. Nchenga via Flickr
This year has been a lot of going back and forth when it comes to restrictions on what people can and can’t do. At the beginning of the pandemic, the state of California mandated a curfew so bars wouldn’t become overpopulated, and people would be home rather than outdoing non-essential activities.
That’s where California is at again; no one is allowed out between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.. There is a mandated 10 p.m. curfew where all restaurants, bars and other non-essential workplaces must close at 10 p.m.
Needless to say, restaurant and bar owners are not happy about the curfew, nor are the people that reside in California. Protests began to take place in San Clemente, and after speaking with a few people, it was clear that these people were not happy with the curfew.
“It’s almost as if we are moving backwards,” said Nancy Baker, a citizen of Dana Point. “Yes, COVID-19 cases are rising, but how is the virus any different after 10 p.m. If the government wanted to do something about it, they would put us on an actual lockdown.”
As COVID-19 cases are quickly rising, it’s becoming old to the public that they have to continuously follow different protocols in order to keep everyone else safe, like putting on a mask in public places. Many of the protestors conveyed how even though they are following every protocol, nothing has changed in terms of the virus spreading.
“At this point, everyone followed the mask rule,” said Drew Tre, a citizen of San Clemente. “Many lost their jobs due to COVID-19, so they have been living off unemployment, and we’ve adjusted to this new reality. Even after the constant change we’ve had to undergo and adjust to, the government still hasn’t come up with a solid plan, like putting out vaccines. ”
The changes the people of the world have had to make due to this virus is truly life-altering, and people are growing tired of this new reality. It’s clear that a vaccine is the number one priority at this point, or at least it should be because without one we will never be able to reduce the number of cases, even with all the protocols and mandates the country puts on its people.
Restaurants and bar owners are heavily feeling the impact of the curfew. Many restaurants with bars gain most of their sales after 10 p.m. because most people go out to the bars around that time to top their night off.
“We’ve had to cut our staff’s hours due to this curfew shift,” said Justin Thacher, manager of Hennessey’s Tavern in Dana Point. “Bartenders are cut to one shift a week and the managers take over from 3 p.m. until closing. Many of our servers are only receiving two to three days a week on the schedule because our sales just aren’t enough to have as many servers as we did before the restrictions.”
Restaurants and bar owners are really taking the heat when it comes to this curfew. The workers are being affected and many have to file for unemployment again because they aren’t getting enough hours or pay to pay for their bills and other essentials.
After speaking with the manager, one of the main bartenders had some things to say about how the curfew affects her pay and the stress of when things will or if they will go back to normal.
“Before coronavirus, I was able to make a pretty good living without having to stress over money or having to stress whether or not I’d be able to pay for some bills or skip a bill,” said Summer Palma, a bartender at Hennessey’s Tavern in Dana Point. “Now, I’m receiving 15 hours at best per week, and the stress of not making enough money has resulted in me filing for unemployment for the second time this year. The government really needs to get on top of that vaccine or many more people will suffer.”
A vaccine seems to be the only solution at this point. The people of California have taken every precaution the government has given, and yet the cases are still skyrocketing.
Many of the protesters addressed the curfew’s concerns and how the virus isn’t going to be contained just because we have a 10 p.m. curfew. There seems to be no difference between being out all day or going out past 10 p.m. This is what Claire Lee had to say about that.
“People are allowed to roam freely from the morning until 10 p.m., so who’s to say they won’t catch the virus between those hours vs. after 10 p.m.,” said Lee. “If the government truly wanted to regulate the spread of this virus, we would go on a state-wide lockdown for two weeks to isolate the virus. They [the government] think they are taking precaution by putting this curfew up, but really it’s just slapping a bandaid on a bleeding out wound.”
The severity of the spike in the coronavirus cases is startling, and the curfew may be just a “bandaid on a bleeding out wound.” Gov. Gavin Newsom states that a state-wide lockdown may be in the near future if the cases continue to rise as they have. As California’s hospitals are nearing capacity, the stay-at-home order may take place sooner rather than later.
In a time where there are so many unanswered questions, there’s hope that a statewide lockdown will finally put an end to the virus madness.