Nevada County authorities intend to use education before enforcement with governor’s order |

Nevada County authorities intend to use education before enforcement with governor’s order

Nevada County law enforcement on Friday said they would begin with education about the governor’s “shelter in place” order stemming from the coronavirus before enforcing it.

Top law enforcement officers in a Friday teleconference emphasized the need to educate their officers as well as the public about Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order, which requires people to stay at their homes, with a handful of exceptions.

“The order itself comes from a place of common sense,” Grass Valley Police Chief Alex Gammelgard.

The order, issued Thursday, significantly restricts people’s movements, though they’re permitted to get food, care for a relative or friend, get health care or work at what’s considered an essential job.

Examples of essential jobs include communications, critical manufacturing, food and agriculture, health care, information technology, dams, and transportation systems and water.

However, officials said there’s gray area in the order.

“The governor’s order clearly has some vagueness in it,” Sheriff Shannan Moon said.

Nevada City Police Chief Chad Ellis praised the community, saying it’s done a phenomenal job complying with the order.

Truckee Police Chief Rob Leftwich said the order is meant to flatten the curve — slow the spread of COVID-19 and not overwhelm the health-care system.

Leftwich said he had no plans to arrest someone for snow blowing or walking a dog.

“We’re really looking at this from civil and business code,” he said.


Dr. Ken Cutler, the county’s health officer, said he had a local shelter in place order prepared before the governor issued his own. That negated the need for Cutler to issue his local order.

“It’s clearly a dramatic, a dramatic order,” Cutler said, adding later: “There are likely undetected infections out there among our community.”

Cutler also invoked the phrase “flatten the curve,” saying that 28% of Nevada County residents are 65 years old or older, a vulnerable group. The lack of a vaccine, along with no proven treatment, has led officials to try to slow the spread and protect the most vulnerable.

According to Cutler, 80% of people who get COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms. However, that leaves 20% of people who will need more care.

“Our best tool is to keep people apart,” Cutler said. “That means staying home.”

Cutler said local officials could augment the state order, making it more stringent, though they couldn’t soften it.

“At this point, it’s all just being looked into,” he added.

To contact City Editor Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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