Frequently Asked Questions

What is the coronavirus/COVID-19?

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.

El Dorado County has issued reopening guidelines and the City of South Lake Tahoe has decided to work in lockstep with the county to do this safely. Click here to learn more.

How can I protect myself from the coronavirus/COVID-19?

Stay home at this time it is important to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people and stay home unless you need to travel for essential services (eg: food, medical care, etc). Hold virtual meetings & gatherings. If you have to leave your home, maintain social distancing and stay 6 feet away from others.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

What is a stay at home order?

On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a “stay at home” order. The order is in place until further notice. It covers the whole state of California, and it exempts activity as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, critical government services, schools, childcare, and construction, including housing construction.

What can I do? What’s open?

Essential services will remain open, such as:

Gas stations


Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants


Laundromats/laundry services

Essential state and local government functions will also remain open, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services.

What’s closed?

Dine-in restaurants

Bars and nightclubs

Entertainment venues

Gyms and fitness studios

Public events and gatherings

Convention Centers

Hair and nail salons

What about restaurants providing takeout or delivery?

Restaurants providing takeout or delivery are considered an essential service. They are allowed to continue operating at this time. However, restaurants are not allowed to serve people while they wait for their food, this includes alcohol.

Is this mandatory or is it just guidance? 

Yes, it is mandatory. This Order is a legal order issued under the authority of California law. You are required to comply, and it is a crime (a misdemeanor) not to follow the Order. It is critical for everyone to follow the Order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect themselves, their loved ones, friends, neighbors and the whole community. All persons, businesses, and other entities are required to comply if they do not fall within the exemptions that are specified in the Order.

Can I leave home to visit friends or family members if there is no urgent need? 

No. For your safety as well as their safety, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home.

Can I still get my mail and deliveries? 

Yes. You will still be able to get mail and other deliveries at your home.

Can I still order the things I need online and have them delivered to my residence? 

Yes, the Order identifies businesses that deliver goods or services directly to residences as “essential businesses” that may continue to operate.

What is the City doing to help?

City employees and City Council have been working around the clock with our partner agencies to keep the public and our employees safe. We are following the direction of our public health experts of the County, Barton Health, as well as the state and federal governments.

We have shut down our front counters, encouraged our employees to work from home if they can, and requesting that all people and businesses to comply with county, state and federal guidelines.

What is the City doing about hotels, VHR’s, and tourists?

We are sending out information to all VHR owners and local hotels requesting their cooperation in gaining compliance with the non-essential travel ban currently in place state-wide. We have made it clear that taking a vacation to South Lake Tahoe is unacceptable at this time. We strongly encourage these businesses to comply with the county and the governor’s orders and ensure they’re doing everything in their power to maintain the health and safety of our community.

How can small businesses get help?

There are multiple resources for small businesses to get assistance during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Below are links to help business owners and employees get the help they need. 

Chamber of Commerce:

Tahoe Chamber ; South Tahoe Chamber of Commerce

Local Non-Profit Help:

Tahoe Prosperity Center

State Resources:

State of California Employment and Taxes Resource Center

Federal Resources: 

Small Business Administration