Jo Ann Rebane: Nevada County stay-at-home order a government overreach
CLARIFICATION: This column was submitted to The Union as an open letter to Nevada County officials on April 21, upon release of the county’s stay-at-home order on April 16. The county updated its order April 27, which now allows specific outdoor recreation options — among those outlined by the author — as long as distancing guidelines are maintained. The Union regrets the column was not updated to reflect those changes prior to publishing.
I have read the updated Nevada County Stay at Home Order in its entirety and it is alarming.
The overreach is actually ridiculous concerning closure of golf courses, tennis courts, disc golf, and outdoor archery and shooting ranges. You know, as well as the public knows, that these activities inherently involve social distancing and no physical contact with other participants.
The public also knows that these are healthy, outdoor pursuits and should be encouraged, not prohibited. Ridiculous rules invite disregard. The list of prohibited sports activities should be revised.
Also alarming is the list of nonessential services which are ordered to cease compared to the list of essential services which are allowed to continue.
You have eliminated the jobs of between 9,500 and 11,000 adults in Nevada County (between 29% and 35% of the workforce) and likely sent these neighbors running to claim unemployment checks. The jobs you shut down are likely lower-paying jobs held by people who don’t have vast financial resources. Poverty and despair are unhealthy situations and can have bad consequences for families.
Instances of COVID-19 in western Nevada County are extremely low as are the numbers of cases in California. According to antibody studies from Stanford University and from the University of Southern California both indicate that the population of California may have already gotten close to establishing herd immunity. Hopefully this is the case. But, if it isn’t and we continue with the extreme lockdown strictures California and Nevada County have enforced, herd immunity will be very slow to develop and this plague will stick around for months and months.
County residents have dutifully complied with the social distancing guidelines, we’ve restricted our shopping to essentials, we’ve stayed at home days on end, we are schooling our children at home, we are wearing face masks, and we continue to worry about the financial health of our merchants and service sector workers. We have done all that you asked.
It’s time now to return to life the way it was before March 15.
Please, as an elected official/county executive do everything in your power to open up our county by May 1. Let us shop, go to church, eat out, get a haircut, have friends over, go the theater, have a club meeting, borrow library books, let children swim — and let us get back to enjoying our towns.
Jo Ann Rebane, who lives in Nevada City, is a member of The Union Editorial Board. Her views are her own and do not represent the views of The Union or its editorial board members.
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