Coronavirus curfew met with frustration, resignation in Inland Empire – Press Enterprise
Bartender Anthony Close makes drinks Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, at The Sire Bar & Grill in Riverside, which will be affected by the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew that starts Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Inland Empire businesses and government officials reacted with frustration and resignation Thursday, Nov. 19, to news that Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a 10 p.m. curfew for counties hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, including the Inland region.

“It’s tough enough to try to operate a business outside,” said Mike Brewer, owner of The Sire Bar & Grill in Riverside, referring to existing restrictions on indoor dining.

  • Bartender Anthony Close makes drinks Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, at The Sire Bar & Grill in Riverside, which will be affected by the new 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew that goes into effect Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • The Sire Bar & Grill, seen Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, will be impacted by the state's new curfew. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • Sound
    The gallery will resume inseconds
  • Riverside residents Michael Lowe, left, and Chris Hoxie enjoy beers Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, at The Sire Bar & Grill in Riverside, which will be affected by the state's new curfew that begins Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • Riverside resident David Hanson enjoys a glass of red wine while watching football at The Sire Bar & Grill in Riverside on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. He said the state's new curfew will not affect him because he goes to bed early and gets up early. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

  • Bartender Anthony Close makes drinks at The Sire Bar & Grill in Riverside on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)



Starting Saturday, Nov. 21, counties in the state’s purple tier will have to stop all non-essential work, movement and gatherings between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., under Newsom’s order. As of Monday, Nov. 16, 41 of the state’s 58 counties, including Los Angeles County and all of Southern California, are in the purple tier. Ninety-four percent of Californians live in purple-tier counties.

L.A. County had already set its own 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for bars, restaurants and related businesses on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Sign up for The Localist, our daily email newsletter with handpicked stories relevant to where you live. Subscribe here.

Brewer said businesses like his serve people who work non-traditional hours, such as first responders.

“They have very limited options, as the evening progresses, to have sit-down meals,” he said. “We keep our kitchen open until midnight, and now with the curfew we won’t be able to do that, and these people are going to have less of an opportunity to get something to eat after they get off a third shift.”

Activist Kristie Sepulveda-Burchit with Stand Up San Bernardino County, which has opposed previous shutdowns, questioned the logic behind the curfew order.

“I don’t really know what good it will do,” she said. “Is there science behind a curfew? Is there science behind it?”

Yes, according to Dolores Green, executive director of the Riverside County Medical Association.

“Between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., it’s largely large gatherings, parties and bars,” Green said. “It targets specific activities that we know are spreaders. I think, for the health of the community, we have to take these steps to try and get things under control before the flu season and holiday season.”

Double-features are likely going to be cut short at the Mission Tiki Drive-In in Montclair, the Rubidoux Drive-In in Jurupa Valley and the Van Buren Drive-Ins in Riverside.

“Any second picture is going to play to no audience,” said Frank Huttinger, vice-president of De Anza Land and Leisure Co., which runs the three drive-ins, which all had double-features booked for this weekend. “This is going to be an interesting round of phone calls to film distributors.”

Riverside County needs to curb the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to Cindy Roth, president and CEO of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce and eliminate the need for similar restrictions in the future.

“We have sent an email out to our members urging our members to comply, but we are going to continue to work with the state to see what other alternatives there are to continue to bend this curve to get us out of this purple tier,” Roth said Thursday.

She said her organization is working to publicize new no-cost coronavirus saliva tests offered in Riverside. Riverside officials have said the county is in the purple tier due to mostly symptomatic people being tested, giving an inflated impression of how many COVID-19 cases are present in the county.

Bellflower-based Norms Restaurants, which boasted 24-hour breakfasts before the pandemic, now closes at 10 p.m. most nights and most locations, but is open until 11 p.m. on weekends. That’ll change when the curfew goes into effect.

Norms’ top priority is the health and safety of its guests and staff, CEO and President Mike Colonna wrote in an email.

“The greatest difficulty is in planning due to the circumstances of the ever-changing environment, but I can assure you Norms and the restaurant industry knows how to serve guests in a safe atmosphere,” he wrote.

On Wednesday, the United States passed 250,000 coronavirus deaths, the most of any country in the world. Locally, San Bernardino County and Riverside County have the second and third-highest number of COVID-19 cases in California. On Tuesday, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to prepare a lawsuit against Newsom over his coronavirus restrictions.

Newsom’s order remains in effect through the morning of Dec. 21.

Staff writer Fielding Buck contributed to this report.

Join the Conversation

We invite you to use our commenting platform to engage in insightful conversations about issues in our community. Although we do not pre-screen comments, we reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us, and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy the law, regulation, or government request. We might permanently block any user who abuses these conditions.

If you see comments that you find offensive, please use the “Flag as Inappropriate” feature by hovering over the right side of the post, and pulling down on the arrow that appears. Or, contact our editors by emailing

blog comments powered by Disqus