Lifting the curfew could create more issues in Tallahassee

Columnist Tazjhani Baker. Photo courtesy Baker

With a total of three colleges, all known for their parties, Tallahassee has been the center of media attention when it comes to collegiate experiences. Now with COVID-19 and a fleet of students ready to hit the nightlife scene, Tallahassee has become a breeding ground for the spread of this pandemic.

Florida A&M University made the decision to reopen campus with distinct safety measures that included a new concept of virtual courses. The limitation of campus events ultimately eliminated a lot of events, leaving students to become more creative with their means of socialization.

At the beginning of the semester, President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. and the university issued a curfew for all students on campus after a “viral” video hit social media platforms showing a group of students having a party in an on-campus parking garage with minimal masks in sight. Since the parking garage incident and the mandated curfews, FAMU students have still been going to clubs and social outings.

Late Sept., Florida Gov. Ron Desantis opened clubs and bars to full capacity. The decision to reopen allowed for promoters and clubs to begin hosting more events and ultimately allowing students the opportunity to party, but at what cost?

The lack of regard for public health has become more apparent, as FAMU has now lifted the curfew following the governor’s order to reopen to full capacity, which now gives students the opportunity to attend those same bars and clubs.

An email was released that stated: “The Florida A&M University curfew will be lifted today Friday, October 9, 2020, since the positivity rate has declined to a manageably low level. The University reserves the right to revisit a curfew or any other measures if there is a spike of COVID-19 cases on campus. Also, students must continue to adhere to our Emergency Procedure Guidelines…”

Students are encouraged to exercise safe practices such as wearing a face mask, as well as practicing both social distancing and good hygiene. The restrictions on campus gatherings have since been expanded to 30 participants with appropriate mask wearing and social distancing.

The email closed out by thanking students, parents, staff and faculty for adhering to emergency procedure and “protecting the FAMUly,” leaving many students excited for their future nighttime endeavors but leaving members of the Tallahassee community worried.

One Tallahassee resident, Flora Evans isn’t happy about the lift on the curfew.

“I have to go to restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations where careless students that have been exposed to COVID-19 are now my waiters and waitresses,” Evanssaid. “And honestly, just the thought of that terrifies me.”

The lift on the curfew could potentially impact the Tallahassee community as a whole. Sadly, while some college students are cautious of their actions, there are many that don’t realize their careless behavior can impact a community. No matter the university, students must remember that this is bigger than FAMU or FSU and it’s bigger than Tallahassee. The greater good is at stake and until we become conscious of our habits, we will continue to create issues.