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Governments plan for reopening business

John Orona
Staff Writer

Governments in Nevada County are taking further steps toward reopening public facilities this week, with an eye on doing the same for businesses in the future.

Household and immediate family members can now begin enjoying more recreational outdoor activities together at Grass Valley and Nevada City parks, officials announced Friday.

After opening some park pathways and trails to the public last week, both cities continued easing restrictions for park visitors following an order by Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Ken Cutler. That order allows recreational sports among households to resume, provided people take additional precautions like limiting the use of shared equipment.

According to the order, golf courses, outdoor shooting and archery ranges will be allowed to open if they follow public health guidelines outlined in the document. The cities’ tennis, pickleball, basketball and volleyball courts will open to members of the same household. Disc golf courses can open if no contact is made with the basket, according to the county order.

Grass Valley will open the Condon Park dog park by Wednesday following preparation and clean-up.

All other shared public facilities like restrooms, playgrounds, BBQ and picnic areas will remain closed. Park-goers are asked to bring their own hand sanitizer when using the public areas.

According to Grass Valley City Manager Tim Kiser, the city is looking at how the county’s order might also be applied in other areas beyond recreation.

“We’re going over his order and looking at how does that apply to other businesses in our community and can we draw a nexus between those two things to open,” Kiser said.

Curbside

Grass Valley also announced Friday it installed a handful of 15- and 30-minute curbside pickup parking signs downtown to encourage and facilitate business.

“The city chose areas that work within the expanded key downtown that doesn’t have their own parking in front of it,” Kiser said. “We’ve chosen sites closest to restaurants, but not impacting handicap spots or some other things like that.”

Kiser said the city has begun reaching out to businesses and drafting criteria and guidelines for businesses to open safely when the time comes. The guidelines are likely to be more stringent than the county’s to encourage social distancing and make people feel comfortable returning to businesses.

Dr. Cutler this week established a 16-member county committee to advise him on developing safety measures businesses can plan to implement before reopening.

“Our goal is to have a solid plan for businesses to follow that is approved by Dr. Cutler, so that when the governor eases the statewide stay-at-home order in the coming weeks, they’ll be ready to open right away,” Assistant County Executive Officer Mali Dyck said in an email.

The Roadmap to Recovery Advisory Committee will include a representative from law enforcement, recreation, health care and faith communities. Three businesses representatives, a representative of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council, the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools and city, county and town officials will fill the rest of the committee.

Dyck said the committee expects more concrete plans by the end of next week.

The public will not be allowed at the meetings, hosted online, to avoid interference that might slow down the committee, Dyck said. According to a release, a summary of the its work will be made available following each meeting.

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


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