Following four consecutive nights of demonstrations in Manhattan and Brooklyn over police violence and the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a citywide curfew for New York City Monday night.
The curfew will begin at 11 p.m. and end at 5 a.m. the following morning, De Blasio announced on Twitter. Cuomo also announced the measure in an online statement, and added that he’d be doubling the police presence on city streets from 4,000 to 8,000.
The governor and mayor said the additional police officers would be deployed to areas of the city where “violence and property damage occurred during last night’s protests,” singling out lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn.
“NYC residents — you must stay home after 11 PM!,” Cuomo wrote on Twitter Monday afternoon.
The governor’s office later told Eater that restaurant and delivery workers are exempt from the order. Also exempt are other essential employees including those working at banks, healthcare establishments, and “essential retail” outlets such as pharmacies and grocery stores, the New York Times reports.
An aide to the governor told the Times that violating the curfew would be a class B misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500 and up to three months in jail.
Both Cuomo and De Blasio said they were considering the possibilities of a curfew earlier today. Cuomo had said that he has the legal authority to issue one himself, while adding that National Guard troops were on standby.
In San Francisco, that city’s nightly curfew has led restaurants to close early or discontinue dinner service, Hoodline reports. The report cited Jessica Bennett, the owner of Cole Valley’s Zazie, who said was she worried about staff being arrested for being out past curfew.
While many of New York City’s daily demonstrations have been peaceful, violent clashes have occurred between police and protesters at night. Restaurants and other small businesses have suffered broken windows, graffiti, and other property damage.
Cuomo, when pressed about precisely what a curfew would look like earlier today, did not offer further details. The measure could still cause local restaurants to shutter early, even if exempt, as operators seek to protect their employees and avoid accidental arrest.
Many of those cash-strapped businesses and their workers are already struggling from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced restaurants to end sit-down service, and which has led markets to purchase personal protective equipment and implement strict social distancing measures.
A number of other major U.S. cities, including Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, have issued nightly curfews, while National Guard troops have deployed in those same cities to help deal with unrest there.
The effectiveness of ordering emergency curfews — and increasing the presence of police to enforce them — remains unclear, per a Vox.com story from May 31. “Some experts have raised concerns about the way curfews are likely to be enforced in communities of color and argue they could exacerbate the very dynamics that gave rise to the unrest in the first place: namely, that they will encourage confrontational policing at a time when people are demanding the opposite,” according to that report.
This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Cuomo and De Blasio have ordered a curfew, along with other details about that measure, including exceptions for essential workers