Socially responsible: Nevada County bars close after governor’s executive order |

Socially responsible: Nevada County bars close after governor’s executive order

Sam Corey
Staff Writer
The Crazy Horse Inn’s March music marquee is left with a sign letting customers know that call in and to-go orders can still be made.
Elias Funez/

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order on Thursday was made in hopes of keeping the public safe and slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Ordering people to shelter in place, the governor’s office said all non-essential businesses should close.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants for take-out or delivery services only, food banks, laundry services and banks may all stay open.

Just days earlier, despite the governor calling on March 15 for the closure of neighborhood bars and pubs, some bars had remained open. Newsom allowed restaurants at that time to offer dine-in services with “deep social distancing,” recommending to reduce occupancy by half. When the governor’s latest order to shelter in place came down Thursday, several community residents were concerned not everyone would comply with the governor’s order.

“If we’re going to make a concerted effort to slow this down, we’re going to have to do this together.”Steve GiardinaGolden Era owner

As of Friday morning, though, doors were closing around western Nevada County.

In addition to The Brick temporarily closing, Crazy Horse canceled its music events and closed temporarily; McGee’s in Nevada City announced it would close Thursday afternoon; and the door to Gary’s Place was locked around noon Friday. The Pour House and Cirino’s also were closed Friday.

While The Mine Shaft Saloon was the only bar open in Nevada City around noon Friday, employees of the bar said it was hosting a closed-party gathering, and would close at 1 p.m. that day.

Grass Valley Brewing Company, 1849 Brewing Co. and several other bars and pubs that serve food have now phased in carry-out only policies. Visit to see The Union’s “Special Delivery” list of businesses currently operating, including restaurants and grocery stores offering take-out and/or delivery options.

Bars are not considered “essential services,” according to a spokesperson for the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, and as such it is up to police departments whether to force them to close.

Steve Giardina, owner of the Golden Era in Nevada City, said it’s important to close restaurants and bars to prevent people from spreading the virus. He closed shop with Newsom’s March 15 order, and said he supported the governor’s announcement Thursday night.

“That was the socially responsible thing to do,” said Giardina. “If we’re going to make a concerted effort to slow this down, we’re going to have to do this together.”

On Thursday, Nevada County’s Public Health Officer Dr. Ken Cutler released a statement, buttressing Newsom’s response.

“Public safety is paramount,” wrote Cutler. “A shelter in place order is our best tool to ensure social distancing. Changing our routine is absolutely necessary to slow the spread of this virus, and decrease the number of severe illness that could arise in our community and challenge our health-care capacity limit.”

Giardina acknowledged the temporary closure is a hardship on him and his staff, but said there’s also a much larger moral issue at stake. In the meantime, the business owner said he’s trying to support some of his employees with early paychecks and “appreciative bonuses,” and encouraged others to help each other by keeping their distance.

“Hang in together,” he said, “I think that’s what strengthens communities.”

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email or call 530-477-4219.

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