South Lake Tahoe to fine businesses, individuals for mask non-compliance

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The South Lake Tahoe City Council held a special meeting Tuesday night to address some of the community’s biggest concerns including masking, litter and tourism.

Of the nearly five hour meeting, more than half of the time was taken up with public comment. While there were many differing opinions on the way the council should handle topics such as mask wearing, a clear point that came through was that many residents are feeling the strain of increased tourism.

The council, Police Chief Dave Stevenson and County Supervisor Sue Novasel all pointed out that legally, there isn’t a way for them to ban people from coming into the basin.

“We can’t limit people moving about but we can protect our citizens,” said Mayor Jason Collin during the discussion.

The council voted to crack down on people not wearing masks and businesses not requiring masks. They directed staff to administer $100 fines to individuals not adhering to the governor’s mask requirement and $500 to businesses not requiring masks.

When it comes to businesses, the council made clear that community service officers should use discretion when ticketing businesses, like in situations when businesses try to get people to wear masks and customers refuse.

Digital signs on both sides of town will alert people to the changes.

The council also discussed the litter problem that has been becoming more prevalent during the pandemic. South Tahoe Refuse said they have not limited their service and are constantly making adjustments on timing and frequency based on need.

City Manager Joe Irvin recommended using the ambassador program to help STR clean up and put informational signs on trash receptacles.

“This doesn’t mean people shouldn’t do their part,” said Irvin in a press release. “People should leave no trace when they enjoy Tahoe whether this is their home or they’re just visiting. We are, however, going to do all we can to make sure taking care of our environment and our wildlife is top priority.”

The council will continue to discuss these topics during their Aug. 26 meeting.

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