Protesters gathered in Huntington Beach to resist California Gov. Gavin Newsom's new coronavirus curfew. The protest, which mostly party-like atmosphere, saw demonstrators merrily dancing and singing.
On Thursday, Newsom issued a new COVID-19 curfew that prohibited "non-essential work, movement and gatherings" in the state's "purple tier," which are counties where there are more than seven cases per 100,000 residents. California considers these areas to have "widespread" coronavirus outbreaks. Most of the state, which has a population of 40 million, is labeled as having widespread outbreaks, including all of the major metropolitan areas.
The order states that California counties in the purple tier must prohibit members of other households from gathering "between 10:00pm PST and 5:00am PST, except for those activities associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure or required by law."
The order justified the curfew by stating, "Activities conducted during 10:00pm to 5:00am 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 (e.g., wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance)."
The order provides an exception: "This order does not apply to persons experiencing homelessness."
The curfew went into effect at 10:00 p.m. PST on Saturday, and will remain in effect until 5:00 a.m. PST on Dec. 21, but "may be extended or revised as needed."
Many Californians felt the curfew is too rigid and took to the streets of Huntington Beach to rally against the Democratic governor's new restrictions. On Saturday night, hundreds of people gathered in defiance of Newsom and to show their support for President Donald Trump.
People waved American, Gadsden, and "Trump 2020" flags as cars honked their horns in support of the anti-lockdown rally. People were chanting: "U-S-A! U-S-A!" and "Latinos for Trump!" Lee Greenwood's patriotic song, "God Bless the USA," was blaring during the protest.
What curfew? Massive crowd in Huntington Beach, CA protesting the statewide covid curfew that went into effect les… https://t.co/CXq50g95QS— hermela aregawi (@hermela aregawi) 1606027790.0
Huntington Beach: High energy anti-lockdown protest happening now! https://t.co/UYTgyeSCcC— Kalen From Scriberr (@Kalen From Scriberr) 1606028216.0
https://t.co/XzVmxcCgth— Trevor 🇺🇸 (@Trevor 🇺🇸) 1606025221.0
Strong presence of “Latinos for Trump” also showed up to the Huntington Beach Pier rally against @GavinNewsom . So… https://t.co/w0wYG5Qaeh— Alex Torres (@Alex Torres) 1606034338.0
Still going strong here in Huntington Beach, CA protesting Newsom’s “curfew.” 🇺🇸 https://t.co/raCzuQkqNY— Trevor 🇺🇸 (@Trevor 🇺🇸) 1606028177.0
California sheriffs have already come out and said that they will not enforce Newsom's curfew.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes issued a statement that his officers would not be enforcing the COVID-19 guidelines.
"Earlier today, the Orange County Sheriff's Department became aware of a limited Stay at Home Order that Governor Newsom's office ordered to go into effect on Saturday, November 21 at 10 PM," Barnes said in the statement. "Throughout the pandemic, the Orange County Sheriff's Department has taken an education-first approach with regard to the public health orders."
"At this time, due to the need to have deputies available for emergency calls for service, deputies will not be responding to requests for face-coverings or social gatherings-only enforcement," Barnes declared.
On Thursday, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said, "We've got a lot of things to do, including taking guns away from gang members, stopping narcotic trafficking, and saving children from internet predators. We're not gonna make criminals of normally law-abiding citizens."
Many Californians are still furious with Newsom for disregarding his own coronavirus restrictions and guidelines by not social distancing and not wearing a face mask while eating at a swanky restaurant with several members of different households last week for a birthday party.