Lake Tahoe Closing to Tourists for Holiday Season Due to COVID-19

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Lake Tahoe will remain closed for at least three weeks as California attempts to contain a local COVID-19 outbreak. 

“Unfortunately, yet again, Tahoe is closed,” Chris Fiore, communications manager for the city of South Lake Tahoe, told 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.”

The Greater Sacramento region — which includes 13 counties in Northern California — will join other California regions that entered lockdown this week. The measure comes after free capacity in hospital intensive care units fell below 15 percent. 

Residents are asked to remain at home to stop the spread of the virus, excluding essential activities.

Hotels and lodging in Lake Tahoe will close to visitors and only operate as housing for essential workers or COVID-19 containment. Anyone with a campground reservation for the upcoming weeks will be contacted and a refund automatically issued, California State Parks said in a Facebook post. 

Gallery: Opened, closed, and partially opened: California’s amusement parks, mapped (SF Gate)

Restaurants are only allowed to operate takeout or delivery service only. Retail shops can only operate at 20 percent capacity and personal care businesses like nail salons and barber shops must close. 

Tahoe’s ski resorts will remain open, but only accessible to those who live in the area. California’s lockdown orders exempt outdoor recreation, when a social distance can be maintained. 

The orders only apply to California’s side of Lake Tahoe. The Nevada side of the region will operate as normal. 

The stay-at-home order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Thursday evening and will remain in effect for at least three weeks. 

The order comes as California had its most fatal day of the pandemic yet. On Tuesday, the state reported 219 deaths, a new record, according to the Los Angeles Times. That same day, California also reported a record-breaking 35,400 new cases. 

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.

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