June 13 – 14, 2020 Moonshine Minutes
Tahoe is back in (tourism) business — with appropriate guidelines in place, of course.
I’m Alex Hoeft, news reporter for Moonshine Ink, here with this weekend’s Moonshine Minutes.
Fri., June 12 signified a statewide allowance for businesses and activities not already allowed to reopen to become publicly accessible again. The California Department of Public Health announced that with COVID-19 positive cases and related hospitalization numbers in a stable range, county health officers can continue to guide their jurisdictions through the Resilience Roadmap if they’ve submitted attestations of readiness.
Placer, Nevada, and El Dorado counties are happy to oblige, having met such objectives as staying below the threshold for average number of COVID-19 tests per day and manageable numbers of the following:
- Testing positivity: Counties should have less than 25 positive cases per 100,000 people within a two-week period and testing positivity is under 8% across a seven-day period.
- Hospitalization: The percentage change over a three-day period of hospitalized COVID-19 patients must be less than 10%.
- ICU bed availability: The percentage of ICU beds available can’t drop below 20% availability.
Moving into stage three is a big moment for Truckee/North Tahoe in particular, as the region’s economy relies heavily on visitor spending and the ban on leisure lodging was limiting non-locals to those within a day-drive. In addition to the reopening of hotels, other higher risk environments able to open include:
- Campgrounds, RV parks, and outdoor recreation
- Cardrooms, satellite wagering facilities, and racetracks
- Family entertainment centers
- Restaurants, bars, and wineries
- Fitness facilities
- Museums, galleries, zoos, and aquariums
Short-term rentals, too, are allowed to reopen under the lodging umbrella.
Statewide, schools, day camps, casinos operated by sovereign tribal nations, media production, and professional sports received reopening guidance.
Part 2: Mayumi
Hello Mayumi Elegado here, publisher and founder of Moonshine Ink.
The June 5 announcement that lodging could reopen was a happy surprise for Eli Covell, general manager of Granlibakken, who’d heard earlier in the week that hotels would be pushed to stage four of the reopening. But his team opened up shop on June 12, equipped with PPE packages for guests, hand sanitizer stations throughout the resort, and no back-to-back bookings of rooms.
Granlibakken Tahoe, which normally hosts large conferences and weddings, lost over $5 million in cancellations since the state-wide stay-at-home order was instated. That played a factor in the layoff of over 140 staff members — most of which, Covell said, they’ve been able to hire back. While large conferences are likely a ways off, occupancy has picked up for the Tahoe City destination.
Covell explained: “Our projections are that we’re going to see about 70% of our normal business run rate through the summer. We’re hoping, we’re optimistic, but as everyone knows, everything’s changing daily. From what we’re guesstimating … by January of ‘21, the group sales should start to get back to a normal rate. Ideally, we’re able to get back on track to normal group bookings, conferences, weddings, and big groups by next year.”
Placer and Nevada counties’ health officers are the ones in charge of granting permission locally, and both Placer County health officer and public health director Dr. Aimee Sisson, and Nevada County health officer Dr. Ken Cutler have okayed the movement forward.
Though Placer County remains below the threshold for the aforementioned county readiness, COVID-19 cases have increased since the beginning of June, with 19 new cases alone on June 4 (the largest single-day amount yet).
Sisson said in a recent press release: “We knew before reopening began that cases of COVID-19 would increase as the county reopened. We made clear in our attestation in May that our goals were to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system and to protect vulnerable populations. My team will watch the case-rate metric closely in the coming days and weeks, as it is cause for concern.”
If numbers start to pick up again, Sisson continued, she will work with the board of supervisors and the CDPH to identify and address what’s causing the increases.
Read the full story, Entering Stage Three: Lodging, Gyms, and Campgrounds Can Reopen, online at moonshineink.com.
And before I leave you, one last bit of local news: Truckee police Chief Robert Leftwich announced his retirement this past Thursday. The news comes about after an email from Leftwich to town staff at the beginning of June was leaked. In it, Leftwich shared his opinion on the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed May 25 in Minneapolis by a police officer. The email resulted in backlash from the public and even some town staff. Though there was no formal call for Leftwich’s job by town officials, the chief’s last day will be July 3.