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Supes to agendize COVID restrictions discussion

Each approach is different.

Some try reasoning, prepared with statistics, while others wail. Some are accusatory and combative, while others retell personal stories attempting to commiserate.

But they all want Nevada County to defy state orders and allow businesses to reopen without restrictions.



“We can decide ourselves if we want to go to a restaurant or not, that’s up to us,” Dennis McKenzie told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. “We’ve all got a brain, we can all decide at this point.”

He’s one of dozens of residents — largely restaurateurs and employees — who have shown up to have their voices heard during public comment throughout the pandemic.



“I’m not going to cooperate with my own destruction,” restaurateur Sergio Martignago told the supervisors.

Now, according to Board Chair Dan Miller, the board could hear an agenda item at their next meeting to further discuss the state restrictions.

“I’m glad they did,” Miller said of the members of the public who commented at the meeting, noting most were courteous. “For the most part they had genuine concerns that we need to address.”

Nevada County has been in the purple tier since November, meaning restaurants, movie theaters and gyms are not allowed to operate indoors.

In order to qualify for the red tier, which would allow those industries to open with limited indoor capacity, the county must have fewer than seven new cases per day and 8% or less positivity.

The last data released Tuesday shows the county has continued a trend of modestly declining case and positivity rates, but not enough to ease restrictions.

Positivity rates fell to 6.5% from 7.3% the previous week, both solidly in the red tier, while case rates only dropped to 16.1 new cases per day from 26.3 previously — a significant decline but still within the purple tier.

“We’re still firmly in the purple tier, when we get to the red tier that’ll open up a lot more options for these restaurants indoors,” Public Health Officer Dr. Kellermann said of the complaints. “We’re trying to keep the numbers trickling down, if we do that, this county will reopen.”

Kellermann urged patience as the trends are slowly improving, but warned potential case spikes following Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day could set the county back.

“If we take our eyes off it we’re going to get in trouble,” he warned. “We’re behind where we need to be so I understand the frustration but we’re doing better than previously when we were at 50 cases per day.”

Some business owners have complained there is little evidence that restaurants pose a significant risk of transmission and that eating out should be a personal choice.

But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even given distancing the enclosed spaces could significantly increase the risk for COVID-19 exposure.

And according to Kellermann, rather than a personal choice, not adhering to COVID-19 orders is a public health risk for everyone.

“What we’re talking about is respect for your fellow man and what that looks like is wearing a mask, which is just being respectful for others,” he said.

“We’ve just got to follow the guidelines and the results of not following the guidelines is potential serious illness or death. The consequences are serious.“

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


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