UPDATE: 8:30 p.m. curfew imposed in Palo Alto and San Mateo County; stores board up their windowss

Crews put up boards to cover the E*trade office in the 100 block of University Avenue in Palo Alto. Police have warned businesses about the possibility of looting. Post photos by Sara Tabin.

Daily Post Staff Writers

San Mateo County and Palo Alto officials have imposed an 8:30 p.m. curfew to keep people off the streets following what one official said was a “credible threat” of looting.

This means that from Daly City to Palo Alto, no one is allowed to be out and about between 8:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. except for emergency personnel, utility workers, reporters, those going home from work or those seeking medical care. The orders also exempt homeless people from the curfew.

San Mateo County’s order ends on Thursday. Palo Alto’s order lasts 10 days, ending next Thursday, June 11.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Palo Alto felt it needed a 10-day curfew when other cities in the Bay Area have shorter curfews.

City Manager Ed Shikada and Police Chief Robert Jonsen didn’t return the Post’s calls seeking an answer to that question.

Palo Alto Mayor Adrian Fine told the Post that he supports the curfew but thinks 10 days is too long. He said the city should have tried the curfew for a few days and then extended it if needed.

Other cities like San Francisco and San Jose have imposed curfews for a few days but not 10.

Fine said he asked Shikada about the length and was not given a clear answer.

Fine said the curfew was implemented because of a “credible threat” of looting in Palo Alto. He said the city government is doing its best to protect people’s property.

The Juut Salon at Ramona Street and University Avenue was boarded up.

Many businesses downtown boarded up their stores in anticipation of possible looting. Verizon, Apple, Arnoldi Jewelers, Sweet Greens and Juut Salon Spa were all boarded up this evening.

Fine said the curfew will postpone the city’s plans to close California Avenue and University Avenue to traffic to allow restaurants to seat people outdoors while observing social distancing rules set by the county to contain the coronavirus.

Outdoor dining is allowed under the county’s new order starting Friday.

When asked about the restaurants, Councilman Tom DuBois said it will also be bad if they have their windows smashed. Like Fine, he cited a “credible threat” of attacks on high-end stores. He said police departments in the Bay Area have heard about organized groups using protests as cover to attack stores.

The Verizon store in the 200 block of University Avenue in Palo Alto has been boarded up.

Giuseppe Carrubba, owner of Caffe Riace at 200 Sheridan Ave. and Osteria Toscana at 247 Hamilton Ave., said his businesses were just starting to get back on their legs and the curfew will curtail that. But he said this will pass. Carrubba said he expects protests in Palo Alto to be peaceful and the police to prevent any looting.

A possible curfew was discussed at Monday night’s Palo Alto City Council meeting, but no vote was taken. There was no indication that a curfew would be coming less than 24 hours later either.

There do not appear to be any large protests planned for Palo Alto, aside from one scheduled for Saturday at noon at City Hall.

So far, protests in Palo Alto have been peaceful. On Monday, a protest blocked city streets and Highway 101.

“The imposed curfew is to strike a balance between ensuring peaceful and lawful protests while safeguarding against the unlawful actions and organized criminal activity seen locally and throughout the Bay Area that could very quickly threaten harm to our community members and local property,” said Shikada, the Palo Alto city manager. “The curfew is an important tool to keep our community and businesses safe during this challenging time.”

Meanwhile, the coronavirus shelter-in-place order, which also limited movement of people, is now in its 75th day.

“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. 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,” San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy said.

Protests are planned tomorrow (Wednesday, June 3) in San Mateo and East Palo Alto.

Callagy said there have also been threats of looting in San Mateo County.

Five people have been arrested. Three in Colma that were charged today with looting, said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, and two men were en route to Stanford Mall but were arrested in Menlo Park. Those two men have not yet appeared in court.

In anticipation of tonight’s potential unrest in Redwood City, storefronts throughout the downtown were boarded up, and county and court workers were sent home early.

Caltrain also decided to not stop trains in Redwood City from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“We ask that our residents adhere to the curfew to maximize everybody’s safety. However, the Sheriff’s Office and our law enforcement partners stand ready to enforce this order as necessary to protect our community and protect their right to lawfully gather outside of curfew hours,” said Sheriff Carlos Bolanos. “There are voices that deserve to be heard, and we will do all we can to ensure they are not drowned out by the unacceptable actions of others.”

Curfew violations will be considered a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of six months in jail or a fine of $500.


  1. that didn’t take long. once people began ignoring the shelter-in-place order, now we have a curfew … i know, it’s just a coincidence … but when can you remember we even had one order limiting our personal movement?? ? now we have two!

    These politicians don’t believe in civil liberties. this is just a dress rehearsal to get the sheep accustomed to this b.s.

    • We’re watching the beginnings of an authoritarian regime. Power-hungry officials have discovered ways to take control of people’s personal lives. They saw that nobody fought back during the shelter-in-place order as corporate media repeatedly blasted the message “we’re all in this together.”

      Of course we weren’t in this together. The professional class and government employees got regular paychecks and could work from home. The rest of us, who work in the trades or in “blue collar” jobs got screwed. No, we weren’t “in this together” no matter how many times they said it on TV.

      Now that people are ignoring the shelter-in-place order, they’re trying something new to see if that will control us. At some point, we should defy these city managers, county supervisors, health officers and other bureaucrats. It’s our country and we don’t need their permission to travel wherever and whenever we want.

  2. The curfew is ridiculous overkill, especially after we have been under house arrest for over 2 months! Today and tomorrow will be ridiculously hot. We don’t have air conditioning. We always go for an evening walk around our neighborhood (far from any business district) and we are now not supposed to be out after 8:30 pm! I object!

  3. 10 day curfew? Yeah, right. These are the same people who said the shelter at home order would last three weeks

  4. Good timing. The restaurants will open outdoor dining on University and Cal Ave on Friday night, and when it’s time for desert, the curfew begins.

  5. Instead of forcing citizens to hide in their homes, why can’t the police do their jobs and arrest these thugs? What are we paying the cops for?

    • The purpose of the curfew is to have a pretext to arrest young black people doing nothing wrong. Looting is already against the law, so if you’re not black or looting you can probably violate the curfew as much as you want to.

  6. Why 10 days? No other city has a 10 day curfew. Does Palo Alto PD know something cops in other cities don’t know?

    • I’m thinking that when the protesters stopped at zuckerberg’s house, that led to this curfew. If there’s a squeaky wheel in Palo Alto, it’s him.

  7. This puts the kibosh on that idea of letting restaurants have outdoor dining. Genius move by City Council. Can’t wait to vote them out in November.

  8. Like it or not, our area is a big easy target for opportunistic looters from out of town. When you read about things like vehicle break-ins, home burglary, grab and run shoplifting, the perps are almost always not from this area.

    • By that logic it makes no sense to require we residents to stay off the streets in the town in which we live

  9. The bias against blacks by police should have been solved by now. We had an African American President for eight years, and this wasn’t fixed. One wonders how his Vice President will be more successful. Let’s fix inner city schools, help more black kids get into college and increase employment in black communities. That’s a start.

  10. The MAYOR doesn’t know why the curfew is TEN days long?!? If he’s been kept in the dark, then we have lost civilian control of the police department.

  11. Why wasn’t there a vote by Council on Monday about imposing the curfew? I want to hold the council members accountable who support the curfew. Election time is just around the corner.

  12. According to the Mercury News, San Jose’s curfew began on May 31st and will last until June 7. That’s eight days. Palo Alto’s curfew began on June 2 and will continue until the 11th — 10 days. San Jose has had looting, fires and several hundred arrests. Palo Alto hasn’t had any of that. Based on the facts, Palo Alto is overreacting.

    • Actually, San Jose announced that their curfew ends tomorrow morning, June 4. So that’s only 4 days for them. And as you said, they had actual looting.

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