Regional stay-at-home order to hit Nevada County today at midnight
Special to the Sierra Sun
The regional stay-at-home order announced last week by Gov. Gavin Newsom, applicable to any of the state’s five regions for three weeks should their regional ICU bed availability fall below 15%, will go into effect in Nevada County today.
According to the order’s guidelines, restrictions are to take effect 11:59 p.m. the day after a region falls under the 15% ICU availability threshold. For the region Nevada County is in, that happened Wednesday, meaning the stay-at-home order kicks in just before midnight today.
ICU bed availability in the Greater Sacramento region — a 13-county area which includes Nevada County as designated by the order — was 14.3% as of Wednesday afternoon.
Hair salons, barbershops, and personal care services are among the businesses ordered to close under the stay-at-home order. Under the purple — or “widespread” — risk tier, these were permitted to operate indoors with modifications, including facial coverings and distancing.
Christa Paul, owner of Bang! Hair Saloon in Grass Valley, said businesses such as hers would be better equipped to deal with closures if they received more financial support from state and local government.
“When they ask us to shut down, it’s not an easy decision to make,” said Paul. Business owners would be more willing to close, she said, if they knew that doing so “would not be forever.”
Paul said she believes her business would survive the three-week closure, but is “not going to go unscathed,” as debt accumulates and a dozen employees lose their income. The winter holiday season, according to Paul, is normally their busiest time of year, in appointments as well as product and gift card sales around Christmas.
Restaurants, which were required to limit dine-in service to outdoor seating under the purple-tier guidelines, will be further limited to takeout or delivery only under the stay-at-home order.
“We are doing our part, and we are following all the guidelines,” said Tracy Lapierre, manager of Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant in Grass Valley. As they do so, however, she said she is concerned customers will prefer to go to other restaurants which will flout the guidelines instead.
Lapierre said that, so far, relying more heavily on takeout with some outdoor seating was “holding us steady but not near what we’re used to,” leading to staff layoffs. She said more staff will be laid off as the restaurant shifts to a takeout only “skeleton crew.”
“Our feeling is we just want it to be over, and we hope everybody follows the rules so we can move on and start next year on a new slate,” she said.
Retail and shopping centers will also have tightened restrictions, according to the order, which will require both to reduce indoor capacity to 20%, and standalone grocery stores to 35%.
Critical infrastructure, schools, medical and dental care, and child care services are to remain open under the stay-at-home order.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union, a sister publication to the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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As COVID restrictions continue to rollback nationwide, tourism has started up again and is in full swing around Lake Tahoe.