San Mateo County Imposes Curfew, Declares Public Safety Emergency

Gideon Rubin

SAN MATEO COUNTY, CA — Amid widespread social unrest precipitated by the killing of George Floyd, San Mateo County has declared a local public safety emergency and has instituted a curfew on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Floyd died after a disgraced Minneapolis police officer who has since been fired kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes as three other police officers stood by idly.

Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The three other officers have not as of yet been charged.

The decision to impose a curfew comes in response to specific threats of looting and vandalism, the county said in a statement.

The curfew will run from 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. both nights, county Board of Supervisors president Warren Slocum announced on Twitter.

San Mateo follows Alameda and Contra Costa counties among the local jurisdictions that have instituted similar countywide curfews as the region has been roiled by demonstrations over Floyd’s death last week.

Some gatherings have led to property crime and violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement.

County Manager Mike Callagy said his decision to institute the curfew was based on concerns of looting and other criminal activities in the county as well as that in neighboring jurisdictions.

The county said in a statement that it’s “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.”

Callagy said in a statement the decision to implement the curfew wasn’t taken lightly.

“The County takes our residents’ civil liberties extremely seriously and we want to protect their right to peacefully demonstrate over the heartbreaking and preventable death of George Floyd and other violent acts in our nation,” Callagy said.

“However, we also take their safety seriously, and this order is a tool to help prevent looting and civil unrest by those who would take advantage of this highly emotional and tragic period of time.”

The curfew order requires all non-exempted individuals in the county to remain indoors between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, and Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

Exempted individuals include:

  • Peace officers, firefighters, emergency operations personnel, the National Guard or other military personnel deployed to the area;
  • Individuals traveling to a home, workplace or the airport;
  • Individuals traveling to obtain emergency medical care or to care for another individual in another household;
  • Authorized members of a media organization;
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness and without access to a viable shelter

The curfew applies to the entire county, both the unincorporated areas and each of its cities. Cities can implement stricter curfew based on their local needs.

Workers can come and go to their workplaces during the curfew, but businesses cannot remain open to the public during the hours of the curfew, with the exception of medical facilities, including pharmacies and urgent care.

“Our residents and local businesses have already been hurt so much by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we must do what we can to prevent further harm to their health and livelihood by individuals with ill intent,” Supervisor Warren Slocum said.

Bay City News Contributed to this report

This article originally appeared on the San Mateo Patch