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El Dorado County rescinded its nonessential travel ban Wednesday night, but county officials emphasized the California state’s order still prohibits visitors from traveling to the Lake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,” Dr. Nancy Williams, the county’s public health officer, said in a statement. “I cannot emphasize this enough: People should not come to Lake Tahoe unless they have an essential purpose for doing so.”
The county mandate was initially issued April 3 on top of the statewide order to stress to the general public the importance of staying home and stopping the spread of the coronavirus. The order allowed law enforcement to hit people who violated the travel ban with a $1,000 fine; this has been eliminated with the lifting of the order.
The county said in a statement the local order was rescinded due to “sufficient testing and contact tracing capacity along with the ability to monitor COVID-19 indicators by a team of public health and hospital officials.”
South Lake Tahoe is the main attraction for visitors to El Dorado County; this month the city began allowing second-home owners to return, but visitors are still discouraged.
“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 state of Nevada also shares a portion of Lake Tahoe’s shores, and the Nevada order encourages residents to stay home and limit trips as much as possible to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
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Amy Graff is a digital editor with SFGATE. Email her: [email protected]