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U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa talks shutdown in Grass Valley (VIDEO)

Congressman Doug LaMalfa on Tuesday visited a downtown Grass Valley restaurant still operating indoors — a day after the governor ordered a halt to indoor dining — and addressed a group of protesters who rallied outside the Eric Rood Administrative Center earlier that morning.

According to LaMalfa, his message was to encourage Gov. Gavin Newsom to take a more locally driven tact.

“It’s a one-size-fit-all approach and the target isn’t really being hit by closing the businesses to the extent we’re talking about,” he said. “Flexibility, I guess, is the key thing. What I would like to get across to the governor is: listen to your locals, listen to your supervisors, city council members.”

According to LaMalfa, when counties see a dangerous increase, they will shut down things on their own. However, several counties that saw a recent spike in cases and hospitalizations, including Placer County, did not shut down on their own and were placed on the state’s watch list.

“If something starts to flare up again they can put the brakes on things, but it’s working so far,” LaMalfa said. He said it’s possible for counties to stay open safely if they maintain social distancing and mask guidelines, where enforced.

“Do those basic things and it’ll work out,” he said.

While LaMalfa did not go as far as endorsing businesses remain open despite the order, and encouraged people to listen to county officials, he said that some dissent is inevitable. Particularly, he said, because the shutdown came with no warning.

“Some are going to rebel on that, I don’t know how that’ll settle itself,” he said. “I’m not that guy that’s going to go around and say, ‘You gotta do this, you gotta do that.’ I’m more libertarian than that.”

According to father-son owners of Friar Tuck’s in Nevada City, Chad and Ken Paige, they feel it’s important for them to stay open for the “heart and soul of the community,” and said they are prepared to face consequences of their stance.

They said their employees are on board with the move.

“This is a defining moment in our country, and I think people need to make their voices heard,” Chad Paige said.


On the Board of Supervisors protest, LaMalfa said governments need to find a better way to open up services to the public.

“Life still needs to happen,” he said. “We have to find a way to find a happy medium.”

The group that gathered at the Eric Rood Administrative Center, which included former Nevada City Mayor Reinette Senum and several business owners who said they would defy Monday’s re-shutdown, attempted to have the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office enforce what they believed was a Brown Act violation.

The protesters claimed the Board of Supervisors was in violation for not allowing them inside the board chambers, not allowing them to call-in to the meeting live and not reading all public comments into the record during meetings, among other grievances.

Supervisors had returned last month to in-person meetings, though Tuesday’s was done remotely and they did not gather in board chambers.

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

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