It was business as usual just a few nights ago in Hoboken bars. But effective Monday night at 10 p.m. all that changed. Hoboken on Monday night was a virtual ghost town as the city imposed a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, affecting every bar, restaurant and person in the city. Capt. Michael Detrizio is the tour commander four to midnight.
“Saturday night we experienced a normal, typical Saturday for Hoboken and people were congregating together, elbow to elbow and drinks at the bar,” explained DeTrizio. “It’s a real dangerous situation with what’s going on in the world today, so if we can help assist with isolating people and helping separate them, that’s pretty much [it] public safety and keeping people safe.”
Detrizio says this is not the kind of curfew you might imagine. The idea is to discourage any kind of group activity. If you’re out walking, even at midnight, cops are probably going to let you do your thing.
“We’re not a police state; we’re not enforcing things like that. But we’re going to recommend. We’re going to explain what the process is; we’re going to be diplomatic,” DeTrizo added. “If you look around right now there’s no cars on the street and there’s nobody walking around, which is not typical.”
Mondays are generally a pretty quiet time in the bar and restaurant business. Still, in Hoboken, you can always find a place to get a beer or a bite, except on this Monday night when it’s noticeably quieter.
The iconic Malibu Diner, usually open 24 hours, and buzzing, around midnight. Now closed. No late night falafel from Mamoun’s, No Micky D’s run. And no partying on this usually hot stretch of downtown, where you will not be able to #ShakeItBaby for the foreseeable future, as one sign projected on a building suggested. On the west side, a quiet residential street anyway, it feels like a snow day. Councilman Ruben Ramos says he supports the curfew.
“I think, you know, we’re not invincible. I think the latest positive case today was a 20-year-old from Hoboken,” says Ramos of the usually lively mile square city, “so we have to be very careful how we treat each other, especially our seniors. We have a lot of seniors in our town as well and we don’t see them all the time but they’re here amongst us, too, so we have to take care of them because they’re the most vulnerable of this.”
The first night of the new curfew was mostly uneventful. Compliance was high and service calls low. But spring and summer are coming and residents here will have their patience tested by tough measures meant to control the spread of a virus that knows no restrictions.