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Cities prep for Halloween amid pandemic

As COVID-19 continues to complicate what used to be the norm, Nevada County is adapting this spooky season to make Halloween during the pandemic a little less tricky and more of a treat.

In a special meeting Monday, the Grass Valley City Council allocated nearly $50,000 in coronavirus relief funds to the Grass Valley Downtown Association to fund Halloween festivities and spur business activity downtown.

The association will host a pandemic-safe version of its typical trick-or-treat for preschoolers, though event details won’t be finalized until later this week at the earliest.

“There’s a handful of details we’re still trying to hammer out with the new paradigm and the new world of COVID,” said Marni Marshall, Grass Valley Downtown Association executive director. “Technically we can’t have events.”

Instead of the usual event that floods downtown with preschoolers, it may be more a socially distanced parade. Marshall said she’s expecting a similar circumstance for Cornish Christmas — the tradition will continue, it just wont be the same.

“It will not be hundreds of vendors, and thousands of people and entertainment,” Marshall said. “It will be amazing decorations, atmosphere and people can come down and take pictures socially distanced.”

Marshall said the association is also working to modify haunted tours in Nevada City and graveyard tours in both cities.

At the meeting the city allocated $14,000 for a marketing plan that will encourage spending in downtown during the pandemic, $8,000 for 40 propane heaters that will be given to businesses for the event, $9,000 for 30 pop-up tents and $6,000 to the Grass Valley Downtown Association for administration and oversight. An additional $10,000 allocated for contingencies brought the total to $47,000.

The city will also use $10,000 from its general fund for decorations throughout the holiday season and $2,500 for candy.

At its previous meeting the council voted to continue closing Mill Street from Neal Street to West Main Street to support downtown businesses throughout the holiday season.

The council also discussed allowing alcohol outdoors within the closed-off streets during select days and hours to encourage business patronage. It would also allow the association to fundraise by selling alcohol. No action was taken.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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