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December 17, 2020 – It did not have to be this way. I never thought I would be sharing a moment of silence for over 30 Nevada County Residents the week before Christmas. The impacts are almost beyond comprehension but we must recognize the gravity of where we are now. When the COVID-19 virus first entered the U.S. in March, the government could have enacted measures to reduce the impact. Careful implementation of laws or mandates could have combined with personal responsibility and some financial assistance to reduce the spread of the virus in the U.S., in California, and in Nevada County. Even without federal intervention, locally, we could have all decided to trust science and follow all the medical advice from the experts.

While this Governor has made mistakes, in the absence of federal leadership, he has taken proactive steps to combat the virus. He has relied on public health officials to institute public health mandates, provided the County with $10 million in assistance, and has helped to improve testing capabilities across the state, including Nevada County. Some public officials in the North state have seen the mandates as government overreach, even as our small businesses benefit from these resources. Regardless of one’s opinion of mandates, right now it is vital to follow public health guidance to keep our County safe. 

Our endless discussions about supporting small businesses and non-profits have presumed that we must decide between the health of  the local economy and the health of the public. This is a false presumption. While I am proud that the County put millions of the CARES Act funding back into our key institutions and dozens of businesses, and that staff have gone above and beyond to help keep our downtowns safe and alive, this is only a stop-gap effort. Most County residents do not own a downtown business.  They commute, are retired, stay at home parents or students living at home. They are grocery clerks, car repair people, landscape professionals, carpenters, and electricians, or are living under the radar doing cash jobs where they can find them.  For many of these workers, there has been little relief beyond short-lived unemployment help.  Other industrial countries have demonstrated a path forward by supporting workers, as well as businesses. Unfortunately, it appears we will not have financial help until the Senate does their part to pass the HEROES Act or some other short-term relief package.  In the meantime, our only option is to dampen the disease locally so they can go back to work and children can safely attend school. 

There is an answer to both the shut-downs and the public health crisis we are in, and it is the same answer.  It is to take personal responsibility for ourselves and those we live with by following scientifically sound Public Health guidance. We take personal responsibility by implementing fire safe actions in Nevada County every fire season, understanding that by protecting ourselves, we are keeping our neighbors safe, and that by helping our neighbor, we are protecting ourselves.

If we ignore this simple advice, we will see business go through a continuous cycle of scale-backs and shut-downs, and we will see more people get sick, overwhelm our hospitals and clinics, and die. If we want business to thrive and employees to get back to work, we must reduce exposure to and infection from the virus.  It is that simple.  We don’t have a disease that requires expensive protective solutions.  This disease has a protective cost of a simple two and a half dollar mask and we have known this to be true for months.

Unfortunately, not everyone in this county is showing personal responsibility and our infection rates grow more alarming as hospital staff statewide is close to a breaking point. In the absence of personal responsibility, enforcement of mandates is needed. Hearing my fellow elected officials, both local and State, confirm that they do not support enforcement of the mandates is appalling.  The vast majority of our businesses are working hard and spending capital to do the right thing.  They deserve better than to have their elected officials oppose consequences to those who are taking an illegal and unfair business advantage.  They deserve to be supported for their efforts.  The very small, but loud, number of businesses and people who are not complying and are working to undermine health advice are stepping on the necks of the vast number of businesses protecting their employees and customers. Recently a Union poll revealed 82% of readers supported wearing a mask.

Ideally, of course, there would be no mandate, and no enforcement.  Common sense and critical thinking would be all that is needed to respect the actual experts in the medical world, and to think beyond our own comfort.  Following experts in epidemiology, infectious disease, and public health, is our best and clearest path forward.

All we had to do was follow the public health mandate to have 100% public mask wearing, distancing and hand-washing, and our businesses would be open and thriving, with adaptation, today.  

Where is the personal responsibility, a concept both political parties claim to believe in? Caring for others as much as you care for yourself and your loved ones, is a concept in all major religions and most spiritual practices. During this holiday season, I urge us all to reflect on that simple message. 

It didn’t have to be this way, and still doesn’t.  Let’s be bigger than ourselves and protect this community every day.

District I Supervisor Heidi Hall is the current Chair of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors.

16 replies on “Heidi Hall: Personal Responsibility and Care for Our Community Will Lead the Way”

  1. I have lived hear for 40 years and could never imagine this death toll. Something bad has happened to our fellow Americans. This is like Thank you for leadership, I hope to hear these exact words from other leaders in our community.

  2. I applaud your speaking truth to these local and state “so called representatives of the people”. The bottom line for them is money for businesses and freedom from mandates. In the meantime, Covid numbers increase, people die, folks lose faith in their elected officials (District 4-Dan Miller). It didn’t have to be this way.

  3. So true. Thank you, Heidi. I’d love to also see a mention of how the vaccinations are going (26 death out of 32 in the county occurred in the population of two Grass Valley nursing homes). Let’s encourage people to get vaccinated when their turn comes and let’s make sure not a single dose gets wasted.

  4. Why do the sheriff and the police chiefs of Nevada City and Grass Valley refuse to enforce the public health mandates? And why is that ok?

  5. Thank you Heidi Hall for your appeal for members in this community to support one another. To keep businesses afloat, we all need to wear masks in public spaces. It is simply common sense and we owe that much to our fellow citizens.

  6. Thank you for the article.
    Many of our prominent governmental leaders have not shown consistency regarding the mask wearing and gathering size. They require their constituents to do things they will not do. For example, the mayor of Austin, Texas apparently asked his townspeople to stay close to home. He made this request while in Mexico.
    Persons who are paid regardless of any lock down status make decisions to ruin the lives of small business owners.
    I wear a mask anytime I am near to another person and I keep myself as far as possible from other people. However, I would like to keep all businesses open.
    We made it through the Spanish flu, small pox, tuberculosis, measles, mumps, chicken pox, polio, malaria, yellow fever, and worse. The economic and personal losses due to shutdowns are terrible.
    Thank you,
    Jim H.

  7. Thank you Heidi for your sound leadership and compassion for others. You are our local shining light and are appreciated. May we all be as caring and personally responsible for the safety of others.

  8. Thank you Ms. Hall for your clear and compassionate appeal. It’s good to realize one is not alone in feeling fired up about this matter.

  9. Very well expressed Heidi. Thanks for your views and reminders to people in our area . Look, I understand that for some people wearing a mask is a drag, uncomfortable. But which is easier ? Wearing a mask to protect ourselves and our loved ones from a deadly disease, or the other option ? That we , or our loved ones and friends die because we wanted to exercise our alleged ” freedom ” or ” rights ” to not wear a mask ? Then we live with the guilt that we might have caused a loved one’s death ? Then, what we consider to be ” freedom ” crosses over into other people’s personal boundaries and their freedom to exist, when it infects and kills them. That’s unacceptable and irresponsible.
    I’m very fortunate that I’ve been able to continue my 38 year commercial floor/janitorial business during this pandemic. I have customers businesses I maintain and my 35 year old son has been working for me as he lost his job last May in this pandemic. So those of us who have been luckier than most, are able to assist those of us hit hard by the economic collapse. We wear, and I supply N-95 masks for my son and others in my life, mother and father in law, wife, etc. some friends. It’s basically all we can do is socially distance, wear masks when out in public , until the vaccinations come to our area more abundantly in spring or summer when we can take it to become safer.
    Take care everybody ! Stay safe, and we will get through this pandemic nightmare together !Yet while distanced. Sincerely, Paul Edwards

  10. Thank you so much for this sound and articulate article. I so wish more people could find the compassion and common sense needed for us all to get to the other (hopefully better!) side of this. Those who put their “freedom” first seem always to forget that freedom is a privilege firmly attached to responsibility. The required measures are not that onerous; much greater sacrifices, difficulties, and inconveniences were demanded of citizens during WWII, for instance. Are we now so weak and selfish? Not everyone is! Common sense and community care must prevail.

  11. Thank you for your wonderful article. I appreciate it ever so much. I am extremely glad you are our Supervisor right now.

  12. Thank you supervisor Hall for your leader ship, common sense and compassion. We need leaders like you.

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