Nevada County to meet with noncompliant business owners, legal reps |

Nevada County to meet with noncompliant business owners, legal reps

Volunteers water the decorative landscaping placed in between Sergio’s Caffe and Old Town Cafe in downtown Grass Valley, where city officials closed the road to help the eateries comply with state mandates to discontinue indoor dining. After over a week of being in violation of that order, the businesses appear to have agreed to comply.
Elias Funez/

Nevada County will meet with the legal representatives of businesses not in compliance with state COVID-19 mandates, “to work with them on coming into compliance and remedying their permit,” officials said Friday.

More than one week and close to $5,000 in fines after vowing to defy state COVID-19 orders, the three businesses — Old Town Cafe, Sergio’s Caffe and Friar Tuck’s — appeared ready to come into compliance, Environmental Health Director Amy Irani said Thursday. All three had ceased indoor dining, with Irani reaching out to the businesses about next steps before announcing the county would no longer comment any further on the process.

“These are unprecedented times for everyone in our community,” County Administrative Analyst Taylor Wolfe said in an email. “Environmental Health’s role is to put community health and safety first, while also working with businesses to be in compliance.”

No further details were provided.

Friar Tuck’s announced Wednesday that following the Board of Supervisors’ decision to pull an ordinance that would have imposed fines of up to $10,000 for out-of-compliance businesses, it was ready to work with the county to “find a reasonable solution that will insure the vitality of our fellow business & community.”

However, it took a step back from that stance shortly after.

”We never said we were complying,” co-owner Ken Paige said in an email. “We never said we were shutting down.”

Whether the restaurants come into compliance or not, according to Grass Valley resident Sharon Kenedi, it’s too little, too late.

“I am just so appalled at this fringe group of anti-maskers and non-believers that we’ve allowed in this county,” said Kenedi, who’s been following the developments. “I’m not going to sit back and let these people act like this, its just creating more and more chaos in our community.”

According to Kenedi, the businesses and their supporters’ vocal nature has given an outsized influence on the county, referring to the pulled ordinance.

“We’ve allowed them to bully us and it’s a matter of life and death,” she said. “We’re being held hostage and they’re endangering all our lives.”

Supervisor Dan Miller said Wednesday the proposed ordinance was not pulled to appease either side, but to clarify the language. While Miller said he understands business owners’ complaints of government overreach, the federal funding tied to compliance is also crucial.

“Our county and businesses can use those funds to help us through this time,” he said.

The ordinance is expected to return to supervisors for consideration this month.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email, or call 530-477-4229.

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