The governing bodies of several geographic areas hit by disease outbreaks will sometimes impose a nightly curfew on their citizens, restricting or limiting the ability of their citizens from going outside during certain hours of the night (or day). As I write this, several United States local or state governments are implementing such strategies in March 2020 to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic (Puerto Rico and Hoboken, New Jersey both have nightly curfews as of March 15, 2020).

My question is: does any data exist showing that these measures are effective, or counter-productive? My intuition is that a nightly curfew could actually accelerate the spread of an infectious disease, because citizens who have to leave their homes to do errands are all obligated to do them during a shorter time-window, thereby raising the number of people present in public places at any one time. I couldn't find any published research directly assessing the effectiveness of nightly curfews as an epidemic response strategy. (I only found articles such as this one discussing the failure of nightly curfews in Liberia during the 2014 Ebola epidemic, but those caused public rioting and low compliance). Considering how common this is frequently mentioned and attempted as an intervention strategy, what were the results? Is there any published data from real-world examples, or even results from model simulations?

  • Since there is NO DATA either way, there is no solid evidence behind the nightly curfews impose to draw reasonable conclusions. Since the curfews are not based upon facts they are arbitrary. Dr Fauci says any plan of action should be based upon "facts." (except maybe wearing 2-3-4-5 masks). If we as medical professionals can understandably disagree as to the necessity/efficacy of curfews with reasoned hypotheses, should there be curfews at all??? Feb 6, 2021 at 3:39

1 Answer 1


I too was unable to find data on whether partial curfews are effective. I presume that the premise is that you keep the country running as people are able to work, and you can still collect some tax revenue whereas this is not possible with a full curfew. It seems a very double edged knife.

Also, the people most likely to be out and socialising at night are the young people who are relatively immune to the fatal aspects of the disease. But they're also the ones who are most likely to be spreading it as well though current data suggests that in China it was the parents infecting the children and not the other way round.

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    This is entirely speculative. The questions is specifically looking for evidence either in published data sets or mathematical/computer modeling
    – That Guy
    Mar 18, 2020 at 13:51
  • And I said there's no data so of course it's opinion. Mar 18, 2020 at 15:54
  • Then you shouldn't be providing an opinion, you should be leaving the question unanswered.
    – Mark
    Mar 22, 2020 at 19:12
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    Opinion is also data, just backed from clinical experience so the worst form of evidence, but still evidence. Mar 22, 2020 at 19:20
  • I think @GrahamChiu is correct. A computer model used by epidemiologists is also nothing more than opinion. Backed by experience, subject to interpretation, and fed somewhat by what little data there is.
    – Frank
    Mar 10, 2021 at 12:40

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