When Will Vacation Rentals Open in Tahoe?
When California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a statewide shelter-in-place order in mid-March 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, that also meant closing down nonessential businesses, which included short-term vacation rentals. Since March, vacation rentals in the Tahoe area have only been permitted for essential workers and to house those displaced during the pandemic.
The North Lake Tahoe area has strongly restricted vacation rentals, per orders from Nevada County and Placer County. Now, many counties in the state are slowly opening back up, though non-essential travel restrictions remain in place, including vacation and recreational travel, to help stop the spread of the virus. All of this begs the question: Will vacation rentals ever open in Tahoe and if so, when?
The answer is not quite clear at this point. Yes, vacation rentals will eventually reopen, but when is not yet known. Vacation lodging and hotels are part of Phase 3, which the area is currently working toward. Chrissy Earnhardt, administrative services manager for the town of Truckee, told reporters in April that it’s hard to know how long the emergency orders will last. “The county order does not actually have an end date,” she said. “Our intention is to update those property owners and registered owners with any new information as it comes.”
Placer County—which encompasses Tahoe destinations like Squaw Valley, Northstar, Tahoe City, and Kings Beach—is slowly starting to reopen, with restaurants, shops, and some recreation services now permitted. That said, would-be travelers are still being asked to stay home.
“We realize that for many, the Sierra region is a place that feels comfortable to ‘escape to.’ We want this destination to still be that for people, but not until travel is deemed safe. This is in everyone’s best interest,” said Jeffrey Hentz, CEO of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, in May. “So instead of visiting now, we hope visitors and non-primary residents will stay home to help protect our community and theirs, flatten the curve, and find other ways to support North Lake Tahoe area businesses that are reliant on tourism.”
Once vacation rental bans are eased, there will certainly be guidelines in place for how short-terms rentals can and should operate in the age of COVID-19. Strict cleaning requirements, self-check in to reduce physical contact, as well as an allotted amount of time between occupants may be required for short-term rentals once they are back open. For continued updates, please stay tuned to the latest from the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and GoNorthTahoe.com, as well as statewide and county orders.