Arizona City Approves Mandatory Nightly Curfew

Arizona City Approves Mandatory Nightly Curfew
Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Md. (NIAID)
Zachary Stieber

The second-largest city in Arizona on Tuesday approved a nightly curfew that will be in place until Christmas Eve, if not longer.

The Tucson City Council voted to impose the curfew from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. every night, from Friday to Dec. 23. The vote came during a special meeting called by Mayor Regina Romero, a Democrat.

"I know that we're all very tired of all of the mitigation measures that we've taken so far, but as we've heard, there is a surge of cases in Pima County throughout the state. As a matter of fact, there's a surge throughout the country," Romero said. "We have to take additional steps as mayor and council to make sure that we're protecting our community."

Violators face a fine of up to $300.

The curfew forbids people from being out in public but doesn't prevent people from traveling to or from so-called essential activities or engaging in those activities. Examples included traveling to grocery stores and hospitals. The order doesn't require businesses to close.

During the meeting, Tuscon Medical Center CEO Judy Ridge warned council members that intensive care units at the center are at capacity as the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations escalate in the region.

But she also said a curfew fell short of what's required to stop the spread of the virus and "flatten the curve," or keep the number of cases from rising.

Romerto agreed. "I would much rather see our governor acting on a much more robust mitigation strategy," she said.

The city is allocating $2.5 million of the money from the CARES Act to enforcement of the curfew. Romero also announced that the city was committing millions to small businesses and families because they "might be impacted by the curfew."

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