The snow is falling and the ski season is in full swing in the Tahoe region. Unfortunately, most people won’t be able to enjoy it through the holiday season.
With a major resurgence of Covid-19 throughout California, Governor Gavin Newsom once again issued a strict stay-at-home mandate for most areas in the state. For the tourist-heavy Lake Tahoe, which sees most of its visitors from Sacramento and the Bay Area, that means it will once again ask visitors to stay out of the area through the holiday season.
As of December 11, the Lake Tahoe region is banning travel to the area for at least three weeks.
Hotels, lodges and vacation home rentals are no longer accepting reservations from out-of-state visitors, and will only be admitting essential workers. Outside dining is now banned and retail shops are only allowing 20 percent capacity. Simply put – Tahoe will be a ghost town through its typically bustling holiday season.
“Unfortunately, yet again, Tahoe is closed,” said Chris Fiore, communications manager for the city of South Lake Tahoe, to the San Francisco Chronicle. “If we can get things under control in the next three weeks, we can reopen just in time for New Year’s.”
Ski resorts have remained open during the mandate, but are operating with much lower traffic than usual and are not allowing day-pass purchases without a reservation. While local skiers are enjoying their mountains without the typical heavy traffic, the local economy will struggle without the revenues of wealthy Bay Area folks.
Although local officials are emphasizing the visitor ban, it’s unclear whether there will be any enforcement. Local officials famously issued $1,000 fines for out-of-area visitors in the spring as city dwellers flocked to the area during the strict local stay-at-home orders. That being said, the El Dorado County sheriff announced they would not be enforcing the statewide curfew, a signal that visitors are unlikely to be punished for visiting Tahoe.
A winter trip to the Tahoe mountains might sound tasty right now, but it’s probably best to stay home.