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Curfews take effect in Virginia and North Carolina over the next few days

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Posted at 2:28 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 16:31:18-05

NORFOLK, Va. - With more than 7,500 new cases reported in North Carolina on Friday, a curfew will take effect starting at 10 p.m. and lasting until 5 a.m.

In Virginia, a curfew takes effect Monday morning, although it doesn't begin until midnight each night.

But just how effective are curfews in preventing the spread of COVID-19? "I'm not sure what the benefit of the curfew is going to be if you've already got bars closed and you're limiting alcohol sales and when restaurants can be open, so I'm not as sure about that part of the recommendation," said Dr. Edward Oldfield from Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Still, Oldfield believes the curfews could cut down on late-night gatherings, where experts say COVID-19 is spreading easily. "Those indoor gatherings and parties - that's where there's alcohol, no masks, so maybe that's the real driving issue - private, non-family gatherings late in the evening," he said.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was asked about this rationale for the curfew during a press conference on Thursday. "I'll use two words to summarize: It's called common sense," he said. "I'll also say something that my parents taught me: Nothing good happens after midnight."

Northam later said the curfew is about "messaging." Law enforcement won't be involved in enforcing the curfew in Virginia. "Even during other hours of the day, if you don't need to be outside of your house, we know that the safest to be is your house," he said.

Experts say though other new measures have clear benefits, like reducing social gatherings to 10 people and expanding the max mandate. "We're really at a crucial point where we really have to avoid indoor gatherings and wear a mask whenever we're not with our household unit," said Oldfield.

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