NEVADA CITY, Calif, December 10, 2020 – At last night’s meeting the Nevada City City Council unanimously approved a set of ordinances designed to provide clarity and toolsets to both residents and city staff, including law enforcement. The enforcement portions are not the first tools to be used, rather enforcement and/or citations are to be used as a last resort.
The first item was the rollout of the Nevada City Safe campaign, a self-certification program/educational campaign to help identify to the public which businesses in the City are following safety protocols and enforcing the State Face Covering Guidance. The program recognizes the businesses who protect both their staff and customers – a tip of the hat to their efforts.
Regarding the encroachment permits granted to businesses to set up outdoor areas, council unanimously decided to leave the permits intact, with the expectation that businesses will use these outdoor areas for takeout deliveries.
Face coverings are part of the state regulations and as such the council wanted to give staff a tool to enforce the regulation if needed. Civil citations, or tickets, would only be issued in most egregious cases. Police Chief Chad Ellis reported that education has been very effective, with the overwhelming majority of contacts resulting in compliance. He stated that having law enforcement issue citations would require the ordinance to be reviewed by their union’s legal staff for constitutionality. Since the ordinance is modeled on Monterey’s ordinance, that review already seems to have been done said Mayor Minett. Council unanimously approved the urgency ordinance.
Another unanimous vote allows the city to use its nuisance abatement process, its administrative citation process, and other civil and criminal remedies applicable to all Nevada City Municipal Code violations to enforce violations of the COVID-19 health orders within the City of Nevada City.
Throughout the deliberations, council members stressed the education first aspect but were quite clear that rules will apply to everyone.
A group of protestors made their presence known at the homes of Mayor Minett and Vicemayor Strawser (and their neighbors) by banging on pots, drums etc and yelling. Minett and Strawser apologized for the disruptions caused to their neighbors while the council continued their deliberations. Nevada City council members are serving the city without any compensation.