DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona Beach on Tuesday issued a curfew in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The curfew, which starts Thursday and ends April 8, will be in effect daily from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
“There are specific exceptions to the curfew, including travel to and from work, medical emergencies and food delivery services,” the city said in a Facebook post.
Restaurants offering drive-thru, delivery and takeout services will be able to remain open, officials said.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri said that even before the curfew, Daytona Beach City Commissioners have been actively working to keep people home through other measures, including their decision to shut down Bike Week early.
Capri said so far, his office has seen about 98% compliance with the social distancing rules already in place.
“The citizens have been great, the business owners have been great, the community has been great,” Capri said.
He also noted that recent figures show crime is down 22%.
City leaders mentioned in Tuesday night’s meeting that they received some complaints about house parties and gatherings at several parks. The police chief confirmed at least one street party that officers broke up and said police will continue to patrol those areas.
For those who are found in violation of the curfew, Capri said the main goal is educating them and getting them to go home rather than punishing them.
“It depends on what that situation could be. If somebody is breaking into a business, if somebody’s committing a crime, they’re going to jail. Somebody walking their dog, maybe it’s a little education on what they can and can’t do. We’re not in the business of locking up law-abiding citizens. It’s not gonna happen,” Capri said.
He said if residents do not comply with either the statewide order or city curfew, people could face a second-degree misdemeanor but he doesn’t plan on making arrests.
The police chief said he’s working with a full staff and that no one in his department is showing any symptoms of COVID-19.
According to data released Tuesday night by state health officials, there have been 80 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Volusia County.
The curfew was announced before Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order asking all Floridians to stay home as much as possible.
Capri said it really comes down to common sense and compliance for the citywide curfew and the statewide stay-at-home order. He said officers will be out in full force to make sure everyone follows the rules.