Like it did when letting the County-specific Stay At Home order expire in April, El Dorado County today rescinded its nonessential travel ban into the Lake Tahoe Basin.
“Because the State ban on nonessential travel supersedes the County’s, there is no material change in what people should do in regards to visiting Lake Tahoe,” said Public Health Officer, Dr. Nancy Williams. “I cannot emphasize this enough: people should not come to Lake Tahoe unless they have an essential purpose for doing so.”
Reasons for the decision to rescind the Local Order include the County’s sufficient testing and contact tracing capacity along with the ability to monitor COVID-19 indicators by a team of public health and hospital officials. A copy of the rescinded Order can be found here.
“The Governor’s Stay At Home Order is still in place and clearly requires that residents refrain from travel for nonessential purposes. I regret having to discourage visitors, but traveling outside of one’s home community is still proving to be a major factor in the spread of COVID-19. A visit to one of our County’s and State’s most popular destinations for the purpose of a vacation, hiking, boating, enjoying a meal at your favorite Tahoe restaurant, or change of scenery is still prohibited, whether or not there is a County-specific restriction in place,” Williams said.
The Local Order, issued April 3rd, 2020, was primarily issued because of concern about insufficient critical healthcare infrastructure and resources if a surge of COVID-19 cases were to occur. The Lake Tahoe basin is served by only one general acute care hospital, Barton Memorial hospital, which historically has relied on other facilities for any necessary backup. Due to the pandemic, such back up could not be assured at that time.
The Local Order was extended indefinitely on April 29th, noting it would be reviewed at least every 14 days.
“El Dorado County residents have taken actions that continue to show a low number of confirmed cases, Barton hospital has done an excellent job preparing for a surge should it occur, the State’s order on nonessential travel remains in place, and continual consultation with Barton and other leaders from Lake Tahoe indicating support for rescinding the Local Order have led me to this decision,” Williams said.
The Local Order rescission also eliminates the urgency ordinance that the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved on April 17th, 2020 allowing for a $1000 administrative fine tied to violating the Local Order, with the exception of travel by homeowners to their second home.
“Now more than ever, as the State begins to provide guidelines for additional industries and businesses to open, it’s critical that people take personal responsibility for their health,” Williams said. “The best advice remains current: stay home when ill for any reason, keep a minimum of six feet between you and others outside your household, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap, and frequently sanitize commonly-touched surfaces.”