Riverside County proclaims local emergency, sets countywide curfew for tonight

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Riverside County ordered a countywide, 12-hour curfew beginning at 6 p.m. Monday, the sheriff’s department announced, attributing the order to “the several instances of protests and looting throughout Southern California and planned protests today.”

The order was signed Monday by County Executive Officer and Director of Emergency Services George Johnson, in coordination with law enforcement officials, and the order applies to all cities and unincorporated areas, according to the county.

“We want the community to be able to peacefully assemble and exercise their first amendment rights,” Johnson said. “We must also take action to protect our community from threats of rioting and chaos. If you plan to visit a protest today, we urge you to do so peacefully and return home at the time of the curfew.”

The curfew will expire Tuesday morning at 6 a.m. and will not apply to residents who must leave their homes to attend essential work or business after 6 p.m.

“The curfew is intended to prevent any potential acts of destruction and violence at protest sites,” the county said. “Law enforcement will continue to serve the community by conducting patrols and responding to calls for service.”

Public health officials also reminded the community that while gathering for peaceful protests, community members should wear a face covering and maintain six feet between others to thwart the spread of coronavirus.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at wfritz@reedermedia.com.