Editor’s note May 22, 2020 at 7:00 AM: The Executive Board of the Grass Valley Chamber met late yesterday, and in light of what they learned throughout the day, has rescinded their support of the ReOpen Rally event.

May 21, 2020 – A group self-identified as ‘Reopen Nevada County’ is planning a rally this Friday from noon to 2:00 pm in the Grass Valley City Hall parking lot. Yesterday, the Grass Valley Chamber and Visitor Center decided to promote the rally on their Facebook page and quickly drew the ire of a majority of commenters. The original post, greatly edited since, read in part “The Greater Grass Valley Chamber’s board of directors is in support of the business community’s right to gather and to have their voices heard in regard to the County of Nevada’s policy on Stage 3 business reopening.

A member of the Reopen group posted a lengthy explanation as to why Nevada County needs to fully reopen now. The post is filled with dog whistles that sound eerily familiar to anyone following the news. “I have never met him. I do not know him. I do not know anything about him.” “They are UNALIENABLE RIGHTS that we have when born as SOVEREIGN HUMAN BEINGS.”

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The Chamber’s original post encouraged people to “carpool, assemble peacefully and respectfully, observe social distancing, and please remember that in public, it is your choice whether or not to wear a mask. While Nevada County officials recommend following CDC guidelines, there are no orders requiring the masks to be worn while out in public.” It also announced two Nevada County Supervisors would speak at the rally, but as of publication time no Supervisor is slated to appear.

Today, the Chamber responded to our request for comment and also posted the answer on their Facebook channel. It reads, in part “We’re deeply aware of the delicate balancing act of protecting the community’s health and well-being, which is paramount, along with nurturing and supporting our  members and the greater business community so that they have the best chance of surviving the COVID crisis. As a business organization dedicated to preserving economic vitality, our Board of Directors supports the First Amendment Right of the businesses in our community to assemble peacefully and respectfully and to have their voices heard on this issue.” 

We, as a community, were doing so well. With 41 positive cases and one death in Nevada County, the impact of the virus is minimal on the local population compared to many areas – for now. How did we do that? By following the stay at home order and limiting contact. By washing our hands. By wearing masks when leaving the home for essential activities. By accepting public health guidelines. By relying on science and facts.

The community’s efforts, combined with the resources made available by local, state and federal agencies, were aligned with the criteria to safely reopen parts of the economy and move forward.

Is it frustrating to see closed storefronts, not be able to get that sorely needed haircut or enjoy performances from our vibrant arts and entertainment sector? You bet it is. Business owners and their staff are watching savings dwindle and face prospects of losing their livelihoods. It’s scary for many, nay, all of us.

The planned rally could mark a turning point from public health and safety priorities to divisive politics – if organizers are joined by a large crowd of locals, which at this time appears doubtful.

After weeks of shelter in place and now gradual reopening, throwing all that effort away for a reckless free for all is like a double fault at match point – in my opinion.

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21 replies on “Commentary: Reopen Rally is like a double fault at match point”

  1. Bravo! Well-written, well-thought, well-intentioned essay. We all want a return to normal, but only half of us currently appreciate the threat to trying such a thing too soon. The rally is far more a political event than a celebration of the lifting of restrictions. The Chamber was wrong to endorse it.

    1. Totally agree the organizer is cle
      Clearly politically motivated and what they are pushing is risky at the very least and damaging to what has been accomplished with the sacrifices to date. Too soon is too soon and the “41” cases without major testing is just not accurate- Rural communities always lag behind so we are clearly not out of the woods opening to soon will come at a cost it’s the how much we don’t know

  2. I believe in science. I believe we should follow the advice of our scientific community and health care professionals. Common sense dictates one common point of logic: If at the end of this pandemic we find that they (those who are against wearing masks, social distancing, and wish to gather in crowds) were right, meaning that all these precautions were unnecessary than all of us would have suffered the inconvenience of wearing masks and social-distanced unnecessarily. However, if the other side is right, thousands might have died unnecessarily. The choice is simple. Wear a mask. Take this in small steps. Then test the waters. Then repeat. But most of all we must listen to those whose opinions are based on science and actual experience, not those whose opinions only serve their politically-based agenda.

  3. Most of our local businesses rely on (and their opening invites) tourism by people from outside of our community – places and populations that perhaps had/have much higher
    percentages of silent and/or not-so-silent carriers. This virus only knows the boundaries we place on it. Vigilance, patience and creative solutions are our best hope for avoiding a deadly surge in COVID-19 infections.

    1. I agree with this writer. I think we may have yet to see the effect of the virus on our community. Opening carefully is essential. If need be we can respond quickly and pivot our efforts. Wearing a mask says you care about others, not that you are afraid for yourself, not that you are weak. Liberty and the pursuit of happiness rarely happen to those without life. Let’s take care of one another, support businesses as much as possible, and stay healthy.

  4. Thank you Pascale…Nevada County has done so well with our numbers. Let’s continue with that trajectory by reentering slowly and checking our numbers as we do so. To me, it is both an easy and sensible thing to do to wear a mask when in enclosed public spaces and continue appropriate social distancing until we have a better understanding of the behavior of this virus over time.

  5. I totally agree with your perfect essay. I truly hope this “event” is not well attended! I’m so pleased with our statistics so far, but I have a neighbor who lives in Oakland and only vacations up here. They have been visiting NevCity a few weekends a month since the pandemic started. I purposely avoid them, and worry because they go out once or twice a day, probably to local stores! The Bay Area has done very well, but still – their exposure far surpasses any local people who don’t travel.

  6. I was shocked when I read about this rally this morning while looking at facebook. Thank you so much for this commentary.

  7. Great essay, Pascale. I agree 100%. Thank you for being so clear and concise. Such a rarity these days. Thanks as well to everything else you do for our community.

  8. I, too, agree Thank you, Pascale, for saying what needs to be said and for ALL you continue to do for our community!

  9. Agree with this article. Is this another example of white privilege?
    We decided we’re going to do what we want- forget about the needs of others.

    ps.Don’t know how to donate directly into your bank account

  10. I’m a business owner in Nevada City. I love this county and have lived here practically my whole life. I’m rallying tomorrow and it bothers me that you think that we are doing this for political reasons. I don’t care about the politics. This, for me, and every other person I’ve talked to, is to have our voices heard. Why are you assuming we won’t wear masks? We have stayed home for over 2 months. We shut down our businesses and did what the state asked. We flatten the curve. We did our part now it’s time that we get our end of the bargain. I don’t mind wearing a mask… I will, I think most people will. We have all done a great job at protecting our community and it shows. The numbers tell us we can go back to work. The state gives guidelines and they are just that…guidelines. Nevada county needs to move forward. We can’t all follow exact guidelines as the next county. The re-opening should be determined by the local agencies. Isn’t that why we have them? We are strong, determined, and understand what it takes. It has nothing to do with being White! We are going to re-open and soon! I can personally assure you my business will take all precautions. That is what we are licensed to do. Thank you.

  11. Certainly it’s understandable that business owners would like to reopen after two months of inactivity and dwindling savings.

    However how does holding a rally equate with restarting one’s business?

    It seems a purely political protest and one that will bring people together and risk health and safety, particularly if outside participants arrive from other areas which may have had more exposure.

  12. A proposed ad was sent to me recently:
    “If you or a loved one has been refused entry to a private business for not wearing a mask and you would like to explore legal options to protect your constitutional rights, our law firm is happy to explain just how f*****g stupid you are. 555 222 3232”

  13. Pascal,
    A very thoughtful, logical commentary. Thanks, I agree with you! I was disappointed, albeit not surprised to hear on KVMR the “live report “ from Paul Emery of the large number (majority) of demonstrators standing “shoulder to shoulder “ who were not wearing face coverings or masks. Was this also a gathering of those competing for this year’s Darwin Awards? Anyway, thank you again for your commentary. Please keep up the good work you do for our community!
    Cheers!

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