‘A team player’: Business owner laments inconsistencies in COVID rule enforcement
The Holt Ballet Conservatory has been closed since mid-November, when Nevada County plunged from the orange to purple tier.
That week, gyms and fitness centers — including dance studios — went from being allowed to operate at 25% capacity with modifications, to outdoor operations only.
According to conservatory owner Yelena Holt, the change all but shut down her business.
“You can’t teach dance on a cement slab in a parking lot,” Holt said. “So we’re closed.”
Ever since November, when in one week the county went from 6.1 new cases per day to 14, and 2% positivity to 4.3%, it has remained solidly in the purple/widespread tier.
Retail stores went from having no capacity restriction to a 25% maximum. Both restaurants and movie theaters were restricted to outdoors only after being allowed to operate at 50% capacity for a short time over the summer.
Bars went from being open outdoors only to closed completely if a customer’s drink didn’t come with a meal.
For Holt, it was the second time she completely shut down since last March, reopening in July briefly.
Now she’s transitioned to teaching exclusively over Zoom eight times per week, her enrollment falling from 85 to 28 students.
“It’s frustrating to see dwindling numbers from a year ago,” she said. “I lost more than 50% of my students.”
Holt said the conservatory had to cancel its “The Nutcracker” performance and its spring show two years in a row.
“Right now with the Zoom classes we’re just trying to keep everyone’s training current and keep their enthusiasm up.”
If the county moves into the red tier by recording fewer than 7 new cases per day and no more than 8% positivity for two straight weeks, the Holt Ballet Conservatory would be able to open at 10% capacity.
Restaurants and movie theaters would be allowed to open at 25% capacity, while bars and breweries that don’t serve food would remain closed.
“They’re all looking forward to opening up again, and not falling back too much on their progressive trajectory,” Holt said of her students.
“I’m trying to comply with the ordinances from CDC and do my part in preventing the spread of virus. But I’d sure like to see us opening up again.”
The county’s positivity rate has reached the criteria to move into the red tier the last two weeks, but has had more than 20 new cases per day for the past two months.
While business owners like Holt wait for restrictions to ease, frustrations have mounted from inconsistent regulations and enforcement. She said, for example, if it’s safe for schools to open then it should be safe for her studio, adding that she considers herself a school.
“It’s hard to see my dear neighbors operating their studios when I can’t,“ she said of other studios that haven’t shut down.
“It’s frustrating when you’re trying to be a team player.”
To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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