SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) — The city of South Lake Tahoe is telling visitors to “keep out” during the coronavirus crisis.
The plea comes following a weekend where people appeared to head to the resort town in droves to escape the stay-at-home order.
South Lake Tahoe’s Mayor issued the public request for non-residents to stay away.
“We want our visitors to know that we love them, but we don’t want them to come up to Tahoe right now,” Mayor Jason Collin said. “Most people are coming up here to shelter in place in a beautiful place and so I can’t blame them, but what I ask is that people do stay home.”
Collin has also asked the city’s 1,400 permitted short term vacation home rental owners to cease renting for 30 days, and he’s requested hotels and motels do the same.
For people who live in South Lake Tahoe year-round, the request is appreciated.
“It’s a smart move,” Patti Sherwin said. “I think it will keep all elements in place.”
“Right now, it’s a good idea that people comply with this because that’s how people are getting sick,” Bob Salvo said.
Barton Memorial Hospital is South Lake Tahoe’s only hospital and it has just 60 beds.
Hospital President Dr. Clint Purvance issued a statement reading: “Those visiting from out of the area can further the virus’ spread and put local resources, including healthcare delivery, at risk. That is why we are asking those outside our community to not visit at this time.”
“Our healthcare system here isn’t able to handle a huge influx of patients especially critically-ill patients if we get to that point,” Collin said.
Amid a stay-at-home order for the entire state, South Lake Tahoe’s mayor is pleading with would-be visitors to take it seriously.
“Right now, we are trying to protect this place that we call home,” Collin said.
The mayor says he does expect the city will end up enforcing the stay-at-home order with the help of the police. Right now, it’s still about educating and asking people to do the right thing.