Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is warning of a possible U.S. Highway 50 closure Tuesday evening as more than 60,000 people are expected to ring in the New Year in Stateline.
“Due to the ordinarily high volume of celebrants within the Stateline casino core during the event, U.S. Highway 50 may be closed to vehicle traffic in the evening if necessary for public safety,” Sgt. Pat Brooks said in a news release.
“If that should occur, vehicle traffic will be diverted around the Stateline casino core area using upper and lower Lake Parkway Drive.”
Two special events — the Snow Globe music event in South Lake Tahoe and Soundscape at Horizon Casino — are expected to bring additional people into the area this year.
Drivers should allow additional time to make it to their destinations on time and always anticipate poor road conditions this time of year, with snow tires mounted or tire chains or cables with them, Brooks said.
Sheriff’s deputies will be in Stateline all evening and supplemented by personnel from other law enforcement agencies including Nevada Highway Patrol, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, California Highway Patrol, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and FBI.
Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini has directed officers to take a non-confrontational approach with celebrants.
“This method of enforcement has been extremely effective in past years,” Brooks said. “The goal of the sheriff’s office is to protect life and property while at the same time allowing celebrants to enthusiastically ring in the New Year.”
There are behaviors that will not be tolerated, Brooks said. Incidents that put celebrants or law enforcement officers in jeopardy are most likely to result in arrest.
That includes rowdy behavior, fighting, throwing projectiles, vandalism, theft, drug violations, severe public drunkenness, possession or discharge of fireworks, minors consuming or possessing alcohol, or any other act that disrupts the goal of a safe and peaceful environment.
Glass and metal containers are prohibited in the casino core on New Year’s Eve regardless of their contents. Such containers will be confiscated and destroyed. Alcohol and other beverages must be in plastic or paper containers.
Brooks also cautions parents the New Year’s Eve celebration in the casino core is not intended for juveniles.
Douglas County’s curfew is midnight on Dec. 31 and anyone under 18 years of age can be cited for violating that county ordinance. Persons who are under age 21 and in possession or under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be subject to arrest.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Nevada Highway Patrol plan to have a “full complement of patrol personnel” on duty in Stateline, Lake Tahoe and Carson Valley to handle calls, enforce traffic laws and target any intoxicated drivers, Brooks said.
“All persons who consume alcohol during their New Year’s Eve celebration are encouraged to catch a ride with a sober driver or utilize a local taxi service,” Brooks said.