Impact of COVID-19 top story of year – The Union of Grass Valley

If Nevada County residents were not actors in the dramas that took national stage in 2020, they certainly had front row seats. From police shootings to pandemic politics, fire outbreaks to power shut-offs to vegetation management, Nevada County functioned as a microcosm of in an increasingly polarized United States.

These are the overall Top 5 stories covered by the Union this year:


The Nevada County Public Health Office recorded its first case of COVID-19 on March 16. Since, more than 50% of the deaths caused by the virus in Nevada County have taken place in an extended care facility.

Nevada County residents were quick to learn that the pandemic would affect far more than those with compromised immune systems. Entrepreneurs and local officials offered their own risk assessments, leading to questions about the community’s physical health versus its economic wellbeing.

The issue of public health and the pandemic became political, as some restaurants in the county refused to shut down and faced permit violations. Nevada City Mayor Reinette Senum resigned, or in her own words, “stepped up,” after calling the state’s mask mandate more damaging to the community than beneficial.

Public and private entities operating within the confines of the state’s restrictions navigated unprecedented terrain in pursuit of ever-moving goal posts to keep families fed and businesses afloat amid a shelter-in-place order.

CARES funding allotted by Congress totaled $10 million for Nevada County. The Nevada County Relief Fund offered support in the form of micro-grants to businesses to help them tread water, or transform their business models entirely.

Businesses were charged with coming up with creative solutions to make money amid state-imposed restrictions. Many entrepreneurs turned to technology to replace in-store retail sales or provide curbside pick up.

Per the first shelter in place ordered

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