Truckee-Tahoe economy reopens after more than a year
After more than a year since the outbreak of COVID-19, the economy in the Truckee-Tahoe area is now being allowed to fully reopen.
Tuesday marked the first day restrictions were eliminated regarding physical distancing, capacity limits, county tier systems, and masks in nearly all settings for vaccinated individuals.
“Today, we celebrate the incredible strength and resilience of Californians — from our heroic health care workers to essential workers across the board to everyday Californians from all walks of life who have supported each other through hardship and heartache over the past year, making sacrifices to save countless lives and enable us to turn the page on this pandemic,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom in Tuesday’s announcement.
According to new regulations from the state, restaurants, shopping malls, movies theaters, and other everyday places are allowed to begin operating normally. However, masking guidelines may still apply in select setting, and restrictions also still exist for larger events.
“As California’s economy fully reopens, we’re looking forward to returning to more standard business operations in North Lake Tahoe,” said Jeffrey Hentz, CEO of North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “That being said, the protocols and precautions that our local businesses put in place over the past year demonstrate best in class examples of resilience and safety. We are hard at work educating both full-time residents and visitors about the importance of stewardship, mindful travel and fire safety to ensure the summer season is positive for all. As we return to peak season months, it is imperative that we continue working together for the safety of our community.”
Masks are still required on public transportation and other places like hospitals and shelters. Those not fully vaccinated must still wear masks, according to the California Department of Public Health, in all indoor public settings.
There will be a free COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Truckee on Wednesday at Donner Creek Mobile Home Park, 10715 Highway 89. The clinic will take place 4:30 to 7 p.m. and is open to walk-ins. Appointments can also be scheduled at myturn.ca.gov or by phone at 1-833-422-4255.
‘LOOKING FORWARD TO SUMMER’
Summer events in the area, like those held at resorts, are limited to 5,000 people indoors or 10,000 people outdoors.
“For the first time since the pandemic began, visitors can now take in the full range of only-in-California, unforgettable vacation experiences,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California in a statement. “California is a place that welcomes all people and all dreams, and the time to travel here is now.”
Locally, businesses like Alibi Ale Works said it’s seen an increase in patronage in the past month, and expects to see a continued surge in customers with restrictions being lifted.
“I’m assuming that’s not going to stop,” said Manager Martin Cavada.
Alibi had a season-high 164 guests for its Wednesday trivia this week, according to Cavada, who said plans are to continue indoor and outdoor seating. The main inhibitor right now to opening the bar area is a lack of staff, something a number of Truckee businesses cited as a constraint following Tuesday’s reopening.
“Everyone is,” said Cavada on businesses facing a lack of staffing. “Almost everyday, I feel like I hear of a local being evicted because it’s either getting sold or turning over into an Airbnb. There’s a lack of employees everywhere.”
Still, employees at Alibi are happy to again serve guests without wearing masks, something Cavada said is key to customer service.
“Once you smile at someone, they smile back,” he said. “I feel like that’s the biggest difference in what’s going on.”
Another downtown establishment, The Tourist Club, fully reopened on Tuesday.
“We are thrilled to be back open,” said Alyssa Thomas, owner of the Tourist Club. “All of our bartenders are happy to have their jobs back. Last summer we all had the platforms outside. This year is going to be more fun. We can utilize those in a more strategic and fun way. Last year was just about making more room.“
Thomas said the bar was “slammed” Wednesday night.
“All of us in this industry are looking forward to summer,” added Thomas. “We know it’s going to be busy.”
The state said guidelines will again be reviewed in September.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2643
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