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Top business stories of 2020: Businesses face restrictions due to the pandemic

The pandemic brought an uncertain year for many businesses, with some industries remaining steady or even seeing growth, and others struggling as public health measures required modified operation or closure.

These are the Top 5 business stories for 2020:

1) CLOSURES, MODIFICATIONS AS PANDEMIC SET IN

By March 16, following the very first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Nevada County, some businesses closed their doors — for example, Pete’s Pizza and Tess’ Kitchen Store in Grass Valley, which closed temporarily, and City Council Coffee in Nevada City, which has closed permanently.



The same week, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order, mandating that some types of businesses, including bars, wineries, and movie theaters, close, and that restaurants observe certain precautions.

2) LOCAL BUSINESSES INNOVATE

As the pandemic continued, some local businesses found new ways to remain afloat, with many building websites or offering alternative pick-up options.




Many local restaurants also incorporated delivery, whether internally or through third-party app-based delivery services.

In March, Grass Valley Downtown Association Executive Director Marni Marshall said, “We want everyone to start thinking as creatively and out of the box as possible, and to share those ideas so we can all get through this very challenging time together,” she said.

3) NEVADA COUNTY RELIEF FUND

Established in April, the Nevada County Relief Fund announced the recipients of a $210,000 first round of grants in June: eight western Nevada County “safety net” nonprofits, the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, and 28 small businesses which had been impacted by the pandemic.

The Nevada County Relief Fund went on to grant $200,000 in a second round in July, and $220,000 in September.

At the time of the third round, nonprofit consultant and member of the Community Advisory Council Cristine Kelly said almost a half million dollars had been raised, adding, “Most of that comes from private donations. Some small businesses have really stepped up.”

4) HIGGINS MARKETPLACE OPENS

Following over a decade of preparations and debate, and finally breaking ground last year, Higgins Marketplace began a phased opening this year, with Holiday Market opening for business in August.

The neighborhood shopping center on Highway 49, near Combie Road, was developed by Katz Kirkpatrick Properties, whose principal Fred Katz said in July, “Because we’ve been behind in construction, and Holiday (Market) had this hard opening date of July 31, we’ve been spending all of our time on the Holiday building.”

Other signed tenants of the center, to occupy smaller retail spaces, included El Dorado Savings Bank and Culture Shock Yogurt.

5) STRUGGLES OVER PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS

In response to statewide and regional stay-at-home orders as well as guidance from local health officials to modify operations, some businesses in Nevada County defied the restrictions placed on them, resulting in litigation and fines.

In September, a group led by Nevada City restaurant Friar Tuck’s announced it was forming a restaurant coalition, with the stated goal of pushing back against restrictions. Last month, the coalition of restaurants filed a federal lawsuit against state and local officials.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.


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