No face covering fines in Nevada City so far |

No face covering fines in Nevada City so far

Despite a lawsuit pending against it from the county, apart from some changes to accommodate COVID-19 regulations, it’s business as usual at Calla Lily Crepes.

Nevada County and Nevada City filed a complaint against Calla Lily Crepes co-owner Darren Engstrom in September stemming from allegations of violating state COVID-19 mandates and continuing to operate with a revoked permit.

According to co-owner Rebecca Sweet Engstrom, who owns the business with husband Darren, the case against them will return to court next month. Until then, Engstrom said she’s continued serving customers through a service window and iPad stationed as an ordering kiosk.

“People can order right there outside and then we can hand it to them through the window,” she said. “That’s what we’re doing right now.”

Engstrom also said she intends to leave up an outdoor seating area constructed after the county received complaints that the restaurant was serving people beyond its mandated indoor capacity. The city sent a letter to Engstrom asking her to remove it, she said, but just as with the closing of her business, she’s not in a place financially to comply.

“I can’t after spending quite a lot of money to build an outdoor structure to make outside seating available for those looking for that,” Engstrom said. “It all just seems a little silly and petty.”

However, she stressed that while she plans to leave the seating up, she is not seating her customers there.

“Basically, it’s up to people,” she said. “I mean, if people are out getting food, you know, they might go sit down at the park anyway… there are people who are getting food even from other places who come by and use our structure because it’s there.”

In a similar move Grass Valley now considers tables in its closed-off downtown area as public space, allowing the public to use the areas that may have to be closed down if operated by a business.

The Nevada City Council this month enacted urgency ordinances giving the city more enforcement power of state and county public health mandates. People in violation, which the council said will be used in rare cases, could face $100 fines.

According to Nevada City Police Chief Chad Ellis, so far no one has been fined with the ordinances.

“Education and handing out masks has proven to be successful,” Ellis said.

Nevada City has begun building out its list of compliant businesses, which can be found on its website, along with how businesses can participate.

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

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