Nevada County supervisors vote down urgency COVID-19 ordinance | TheUnion.com
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Nevada County supervisors vote down urgency COVID-19 ordinance

By John Orona Staff Writer

UPDATE at 5:54 p.m. Tuesday:

An urgency ordinance that would have made state and local COVID-19 orders enforceable by up to $8,000 in fines was defeated Tuesday.

The Board of Supervisors voted down the urgency ordinance after an initial vote to table it, brought by Supervisor Sue Hoek, did not pass. Supervisor Ed Scofield and Hoek voted against the ordinance, which needed four-fifths approval to pass.

“I’m very sorry and disappointed,” Board Chairwoman Heidi Hall said. “We will see where we will move forward from here.”

In an attempt to wrangle enough votes following the failed motion to table, supervisors amended the proposed ordinance by lowering and capping the fines and making explicit that the ordinance would not be used to enforce mask mandates for individuals.

Scofield, however, said the county’s COVID-19 situation has not risen to the level that requires the urgency ordinance, suggesting a regular ordinance might be more appropriate. He said because most businesses are now in compliance, there is no real urgency required.

“I would be open to it if we were put on the monitoring list,” Scofield said. “Then we would really need to take a look at it and it would probably be unanimous.”

Last Friday, an additional business, Calla Lily Crepes in Nevada City, was given a notice of violation for continuing indoor operations. Previously cited restaurants Sergio’s Caffe, Old Town Cafe, and Friar Tuck’s were working with the county on compliance and paying close to $5,000 each in fines, officials said Monday.

“The way we got compliance with the restaurants is we had a punishment mechanism,” said Kit Elliot, county counsel. “Outside of the restaurants the only (enforcement) mechanisms we have are therefore the state codes.”

The county will continue to enforce COVID-19 orders with the process they already have in place, but the urgency ordinance would have given them the tools to more efficiently police events as well, Community Development Agency Director Sean Powers said.

Scofield also took issue with how county staff weighed in on the board’s discussion, saying the decision should be made by the five board members.
According to Hall, the ordinance was brought forward at the request of staff to give them an enforcement tool of last resort. Some business owners who have been compliant with state orders also wanted the ordinance.

A similar ordinance was being worked on previously, but was not brought forward as businesses were in compliance, Hall said. The ordinance was then brought to the board at its July 28 meeting after some businesses were once again not in compliance, but was tabled to Tuesday’s meeting to add clarification and address misinformation.

The county received more than 500 public comments on the ordinance, with about 214 in support and 298 opposed.

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

Initially posted:

An urgency ordinance that would have made state and local COVID-19 orders enforceable by up to $8,000 in fines was defeated Tuesday.

The Board of Supervisors voted down the urgency ordinance after an initial vote to table it, brought by Supervisor Sue Hoek, did not pass. Supervisor Ed Scofield and Hoek voted against the ordinance. It required a four-fifths vote to pass.

“I’m very sorry and disappointed,” Board Chairwoman Heidi Hall said. “We will see where we will move forward from here.”

In an attempt to wrangle enough votes following the failed motion to table, supervisors amended the proposed ordinance by lowering and capping the fines and making explicit that the ordinance would not be used to enforce mask mandates for individuals.

Scofield said the county’s COVID-19 situation has not risen to the level that requires the urgency ordinance, suggesting a regular ordinance might be more appropriate.

“I would be open to it if we were put on the monitoring list,” Scofield said.

The county will continue to enforce COVID-19 orders with the process they already have in place, but the urgency ordinance would have given them the tools to more efficiently police events as well, Community Development Agency Director Sean Powers said.


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