By Michael G. Stogner
Countywide Curfew: Frequently Asked Questions
A curfew, applying to all cities, towns and unincorporated areas in San Mateo County, is in effect from 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Tuesday, June 2, 2020, and Wednesday, June, 4, 2020.
Whom does the curfew apply to?
It is unlawful for any person, other than those specified below, to be upon any public street, avenue, boulevard, place, walkway, alley or park, or to be in any public area or unimproved private realty during the hours that the curfew is in effect. The order does not apply to:
a. Peace officers; fire fighters; emergency operations personnel; the National Guard or other military personnel deployed to the area;
b. Individuals traveling to and from work;
c. Authorized members of the media;
d. Individuals traveling to and from the airport;
e. Individuals experiencing homelessness and without access to a viable shelter; and
f. Individuals seeking medical attention or providing necessary care for another individual in another household.
May businesses stay open until 8:30 p.m. if it means that their staff will have to travel home after 8:30 p.m.?
Yes. Businesses may stay open until 8:30 p.m., but may not remain open to the public after that time. Individuals traveling to or from work may be outside of their residences under the curfew order.
What is the penalty for violating the curfew?
Any violation of this curfew Order is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of up to six (6) months in jail, a fine of up to five hundred ($500) dollars, or both, as provided by Section 2.46.120 of the San Mateo County Ordinance Code.
Who has the authority to declare a curfew?
San Mateo Ordinance Code Section 2.46.070 authorizes the Director of Emergency Services (the County Manager) to declare a general curfew for not more than 72 hours in the area(s) where emergency conditions have been proclaimed for the protection of persons and property. The County is aware of specific threats of civil unrest, including plans to conduct coordinated looting, property damage, and other violent activities at various retail locations across the County beginning on the night of June 2, 2020.
2 responses to “SMC COUNTYWIDE Curfew Tonight. 8:30 PM – 5 AM”
I think that most curfews are likely unconstitutional, especially ones that suppress political speech and assembly. Should we at least amend San Mateo Ordinance Code Section 2.46.070 to restrict curfews to respond only to “act of God” events and not unrest stemming from political or social reasons? Seems obvious to me that the current curfew is unconstitutional (though I know many cities have them).
I should add that I don’t think the constitutionality of any curfew has ever been considered by the Supreme Court, and I am not a legal expert, just ordinary citizen.