Planning to visit South Lake Tahoe for Memorial Day weekend? Expect to pay $1,000 fine

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Friday, May 22, 2020
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Anxious to get away for Memorial Day weekend? A trip to South Lake Tahoe could get you a $1,000 fine.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KGO) -- Anxious to get away for Memorial Day weekend? A trip to South Lake Tahoe could get you a $1,000 fine.

Beautiful weather is expected this holiday weekend, but the pristine mountain views are only accessible to property owners.

Visitors are not allowed.

"If you are a second homeowner it is OK to come here and live in your house," said Joe Irvin, the city's city manager. "But, for visitors, right now is not the time for non-essential travel."

The El Dorado County Public Health Office issued an ordinance weeks ago prohibiting visitors in an effort to help enforce shelter-in-place orders.

If violated, any visitors or lodging facilities will face a $1,000.

"It will effectively fine guests or property rental owners who offer lodging and actually have people stay," said Jerry Bindel, the general manager of Forest Suite Resorts.

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Bindel said his 115 suites spanning the five acre property at Heavenly Village remain empty.

"This is very difficult for someone in the tourism industry to say this, but we do ask you do not come up until we're ready," Bindel said.

But, as expected, the reopen will look different.

"We anticipate a 50 percent loss of occupancy for the first few months," he said.

No crowded beaches and no crowded streets. Plus, Bindel said hotel and lodging facilities will have new restrictions.

"We're talking and there may even be standards where you have to have time in between departure and arrival to allow a room to sit vacant," he said. "Then we go in and clean and clean."

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But until then the county health guidelines are clear.

"We don't want to say, don't come to Tahoe," he said. "But, we also need to recognize we need to be safe right now," said Irvin.

According to South Lake Tahoe police, four fines have been issued to hotels and short-term rental properties for violating this order.

Police will be patrolling again during Memorial Day weekend.

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