Calls for business sanctuary flood Town Council
Truckee Town Council was flooded with more than 130 public comments regarding a request for an emergency town hall in order to declare the town as a sanctuary city for small businesses.
The push for an emergency town hall has gained traction through social media, with many calling for the town to allow small businesses to be allowed to open at their own discretion.
There was no action taken by the town on the subject, and it was not an item on Tuesday’s agenda. Furthermore, Town Manager Jen Callaway stated that there are currently no plans to bring the subject as an item at an upcoming council meeting.
“There is not an intention to bring this forward as an agendized item at this point,” said Callaway during Tuesday’s Town Council meeting. “But we do want to listen to the community.”
Several business owners voiced their support for an emergency town hall, asking officials to allow them to remain open or to operate under reduced restrictions.
“We are of thought that outdoor dining does not or has not been proven to spread COVID-19, and we would like the town of Truckee to allow that,” stated co-owner of Pianeta Robyn Sills.
Fellow Pianeta co-owner Ed Coleman said closing the restaurant would cause the business to lose roughly $1,500 per day due to rent and overhead expenses. With to-go only options, Coleman stated that staff and food expenses would result in between $2,000 and $3,000 per day.
“If we were to open for outdoor seating only on our deck area, that we can do about $5,000 a day in business, and that’s about break even,” Coleman added. “It’s still half of what we’d normally do at this time of year.”
Many echoed the sentiments of Coleman, and called, emailed, and texted to support the idea of Truckee becoming a sanctuary city for businesses. However, there were several who were not in favor of defying the regional stay-at-home order.
“I believe that our town should follow Governor (Gavin) Newsom’s COVID orders and the policies of the California Department of Public Health,” said Truckee resident Matt Tucker.
Following nearly an hour of phone calls on the matter at Tuesday’s meeting, Truckee Mayor Anna Klovstad reiterated that the town currently has no plans of defying the stay-at-home order.
“In general, clearly there’s strong feelings on all sides of this issue,” said Klovstad. “This is not an easy thing. This is not a quick decision. This is not something that anybody can or should take lightly. We are talking about people’s lives here. We are also talking about people’s livelihood. And while the governor has declared an order, that is what we are currently following and at this point we do not feel that making any change in that direction in this point in time is in our community’s best interest.”
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2643.
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