Difference between Lockdown & Curfew

The key difference between lockdown and curfew is that lockdown is imposed usually for a longer period while curfew is enforced for a set number of hours. Lockdown and curfew are two emergency protocols government can enforce to deal with a threat to the public. Most countries used both these measures to fight against the COVID-19. During a lockdown, essential services are operated, and people are allowed to leave their homes for a valid reason. However, during curfew, all the services are terminated, and people are forced to stay indoors until the curfew is lifted.

Key Takeaways

  • Lockdown is a long-term restriction measure, while curfew is imposed for a set number of hours.
  • During a lockdown, essential services continue to operate, while during a curfew, all services are halted.
  • Lockdowns are typically imposed during pandemics or epidemics, while curfews may be enforced during riots, protests, or terror incidents.

What is Lockdown?

Lockdown is a bigger restriction measure and can also be considered as an emergency-like system. This is a ‘stay where they are’ policy implemented due to the risks to themselves or others if people move around freely, usually imposed during a pandemic or an epidemic. Under this method, public and private offices, private establishments and public transport are completely closed. Anyone who wants to leave their home for any reason certification from the authorities is required.
When a lockdown is imposed, checkpoints will be established in that particular area to check whether the residents follow this method and the instructions that are given. This is a temporary measure taken by the government as a solution to the emergency that is going on in the respective area or the country. The main objective of this method is to increase the social distancing to check the outbreak of any contaminated disease. During a lockdown, non-essential businesses, schools and universities will be closed. Moreover, restrictions will be carried out in transportation, while essential services, especially visiting doctors and health-related activities, will be allowed under social distancing.
Lockdown has been implemented during, Swine Flu in 2009 COVID -19 in 2020 – initially in Wuhan, as a preventive measure

There are different types of lockdown measures such as:

Preventive lockdown – this focuses on preventive actions and avoiding dangers. Usually, this is the initial plan to address an unusual scenario.

Emergency lockdown – this is enforced when there is a possible threat to the lives or risks of injury to humans.

What is Curfew?

The word ‘curfew’ is transformed from the old French word  ‘couvre-feu’, which means “cover fire”. Then it changed to the Middle- English word ‘curfeu’, which later become the modern English word ‘curfew’.  Curfew refers to rigid orders implemented by the administration of a country to restrict the movement of people and keep all of them indoors. During this time, people are forced to stay at home for a set number of hours, and schools, universities, markets will be kept closed. Other services too will be suspended during this time. People who violate this law will be fined or arrested. Generally, curfew is enforced when there are riots, protests, terror incidents or other such situations.

The first formal curfew was imposed during World War 1 in 1918 by the British board of trade, which ordered shops, businesses and other establishments to turn off their lights by 10.30 p.m to save fuel consumption.

What is the Difference Between Lockdown and Curfew?

The key difference between lockdown and curfew is that lockdown is usually enforced for a longer period, while curfew is implemented for a set number of hours. Moreover, during a lockdown, essential services will be operated, but during curfew, all the services will be ceased. In addition, lockdown is imposed very rarely, but curfew may be imposed frequently according to prevailing circumstances.

Summary – Lockdown vs Curfew

Lockdown is imposed usually for a longer period to restrict the movement of people to control or avoid risky situations, while curfew is imposed in emergencies only for a few hours to force people to stay indoors. During a lockdown, essential services like health care, banks and markets are kept open, while during a curfew, all the services are terminated. A special certification is needed for people who want to leave their homes during a lockdown. Thus, this is the key difference between lockdown and curfew. Violation of rules and regulations in both these instances will lead to fines and imprisonment.

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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