SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) — Just weeks ago over Memorial Day weekend, the City of South Lake Tahoe was telling people to stay away. Now they’re ready to welcome visitors back once again, hoping to recover after months of closure.

“It felt good to get out again and try to capture some sort of normalcy,” Mikki Ruiz said, who was visiting from Auburn.

She and Daniel Ruiz are enjoying their first major outing since the pandemic began. This time, though, felt different.

“It’s not the same place,” Daniel said. “The energy is lower.”

South Lake Tahoe is only days into welcoming visitors back again after the state loosened travel restrictions last Friday. Businesses like the South Lake Tahoe Brewing Company are ready for the season.

“Summer is a huge season for Lake Tahoe in general,” Nicole Smith, owner of the company said.

After months of closure, Tamara Wallace, the Mayor Pro Tem with the city, says tourism makes up 75% of their economy, if not more. A lack of tax revenue recently left the city to make budget cuts.

READ ALSO: South Lake Tahoe Hotels Struggle As Nevada Casinos Reopen

“It’s been terrible for us,” Wallace said. “We’re just going to be tightening our belts and move forward.”

People like Bobby Caron, a manager at Azul Latin Kitchen, are eager to welcome visitors back to the great outdoors.

“It’s just nice to be back to work, to feel like we’re generating our economy again and getting ready for a busy summer,” Caron said.

Many people hoping it’s only boats they’ll see rocking from this point on, not the economy.

South Lake Tahoe originally had a $1,000 fine in place if people visited from out of the area. That has been lifted, and the city says businesses should be doing their part to keep visitors safe with physical distancing and sanitation standards.

South Lake Tahoe and businesses also ask people to visit responsibly and encourage wearing masks if you’re comfortable.

Heather Janssen

Comments (3)
  1. Bridget Taipan says:

    “It’s not the same place,” Daniel said. “The energy is lower.” I realize your quote was most likely truncated for publication. So, as a local, let me be the first to apologize to this visitor who was disappointed with our energy. Did you think for a moment what the past few months have been like up here. Did you notice we still don’t have paper products at the grocery store? Did you observe how many businesses are working hard to provide services to folks just like you while they keep their staff safe from customers who may carry the virus? Did you wonder if maybe they need a break too? Did it occur to you that they are not taking that break in order to serve you? While struggling to stay in business, they’ve been at home schooling their children too. And did you notice how many folks aren’t wearing masks? But hey. Thanks for the tourism dollars though. We need it and appreciate your visit. Come back real soon.

  2. Kathy says:

    “Tourism makes up 75% of their economy”. How’s that going to work with the vacation rental ban beginning in 2021

  3. Janet Young says:

    virus cooking pot is waiting for you, come mingle

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