ACC officials hope Lake Tahoe shows country how to ‘party smartly’

Sierra Sun staff
Boaters swarm the beach in front of the 17th hole during the 2016 American Century Championship. The hole has earned a reputation as the most festive in the celebrity golf tournament.
File photo

STATELINE, Nev. – American Century Championship organizers are hoping fans that line Lake Tahoe beaches in boats to watch and interact with celebrities, will show the country how to “party smartly” amid the coronavirus.

The boats and party scene along hole No. 17 has served as NBC’s iconic television shot portraying Tahoe before a national audience for 30 years during the celebrity golf tournament.

With restrictions in place due to COVID-19 preventing the tournament from allowing spectators on the course, efforts by fans to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrities from the water is expected to be even more heightened, officials said.

“With that in mind, tournament organizers are calling upon the good nature and community spirit of Tahoans to show a national audience how to do it right — to ‘party smartly’ to help keep everyone safe,” said a press release.

Tahoe’s geographic nature has limited COVID-19 cases compared with many areas. Douglas County where the tournament is held, and neighboring El Dorado County, have had rising case counts but there have been no virus-related deaths reported.

While its smaller population and outdoor setting have afforded opportunities for social distancing, the number of cases is more attributable to overall recognition of pandemic concerns and a concerted and dedicated effort by residents, health, tourism, businesses and governmental agencies to follow health and safety guidelines, said a release.

The required spectator ban following protocols from governmental and health organizations will also prevent boaters from disembarking onto the beach. The traditional interaction between fans and spectators cannot be the same to maintain required social distancing.

“The current reality has dictated this direction so it’s extremely important that the tournament is conducted safely,” Carol Chaplin, president and CEO of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, the major local tournament partner, said in the release. “American Century Investments stepped up in a major effort to maintain the event’s continuity. As such, Lake Tahoe can be recognized through 18 hours of national television coverage as a responsible example of a destination on the rebound.”

Cooperation with shoreline security personnel along the beach includes refraining from throwing balls and sports memorabilia to the celebrities for autographs as players will not be allowed to retrieve objects to maintain safe handling and reduce “touches.”

Other guidelines ask for boaters to maintain spacing between vessels, to not tie-up together, have personal floatation devices available and to carry masks for each passenger.

Tournament officials have reached out to area marinas asking for their assistance to share the information with their slip customers, vendors, and employees.

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