City sending letter to governor; asks police to ease up on shelter in place violators

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe City Council voted to send a letter to the governor and also asked law enforcement to ease up on writing citations for shelter in place violators during a three-hour meeting Wednesday.

The letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom will ask to lift the restrictions in the city.

El Dorado County Health Director Dr. Nancy Williams joined in on the call to answer questions from the council members.

One question Williams answered was whether there would be any more county directives, specifically, if the county would require people to wear masks in public.

“Masks should be part of our culture,” Williams said. However, she does not foresee requiring them at this time.

The state is expected to enter the second phase of reopening this week, and the governor should be releasing a statement on what that will look like. It is likely going to include curbside pick-up for retail stores.

Council member Devin Middlebrook pointed out that with South Lake’s economy mostly centering around tourism, the reopening strategy doesn’t really fit the city’s needs.

“No local is buying a neon Lake Tahoe shirt,” Middlebrook said.

Mayor Pro Tem Tamara Wallace asked Williams if she was considering the actions Nevada is taking, namely the opening of casinos and she said yes.

Williams said she understands the unique economy the city has and is working with health directors from counties around the basin to find a reopening strategy that would work for them.

However, ultimately, the governor will make the final decision, and the county can’t enter phase 3, which includes lifting the travel ban, until the Newsom gives his thumbs up.

With Phase 2 likely around the corner, Middlebrook wondered if it was even necessary to send the letter. However, City Manager Joe Irvin, in his first meeting in the position, said the letter shows unity within the county and recommended still sending it.

There was a lot of public comment, a lot of it in support of the city sending the letter.

The council voted to send the letter, with edits from the city manager that reflect the changes in the state’s reopening strategy that have occured since the letter was drafted.

The council also directed the South Lake Tahoe Police Department to ease up on enforcement of the $1,000 administrative fee for out-of-towners although, council is still urging people to not rush to Tahoe.

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