South Lake Tahoe city officials sent a message on Monday to all vacation homeowners, short term rental property owners, hotels and motels to stop rentals immediately amid the coronavirus outbreak. The city is requesting rentals stop until at least April 23. The immediate request for all vacation homeowners to stop rentals comes after the city saw thousands of visitors last weekend despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mandatory order to stay at home order.Mayor Jason Collin said visitors are traveling for non-essential needs, and could be held accountable for a misdemeanor charge.“We are very kindly asking people to not to come to Tahoe. We love our visitors, we just don’t want you here right now,” Collin said. City officials are concerned about visitors coming into town given their limited health care resources. Barton Memorial Hospital is the only hospital for the city. The hospital has nine ICU beds, according to a hospital spokeswoman. Collin said the hospital has fewer than 10 ventilators. The hospital services up to 35,000 residents in the city and county alone, Collin said. “That’s not enough. That’s not enough for 30,000 people,” resident Shira Martorana said. Barton Health said it is working with other local hospitals to share resources in preparation for a potential influx of patients. In the meantime, residents like Martorana are applauding the city’s request to pause vacation rentals because she is especially prone to lung infections. “I survived swine flu in 2009, but I was sick for six weeks, in and out of the hospital three times. And so I have scar tissue in my lungs,” Martorana said. Kathy Liebhardt, owner of Tahoe Destination Vacation Rentals, agrees with the city’s decision to pause rentals to vacationers, but she is concerned about the timeline since city officials are asking all current renters to leave now. “I’m going to disagree with that. I have a family in from Australia. Where are they supposed to go? I can’t tell them just to leave,” Liebhardt said. “I have a family in from Germany, same situation. Am I supposed to just kick them out? Where are they supposed to go?”Liebhardt is letting her current renters stay put since their flights have been canceled, she is transforming her vacation properties from places of leisure into places of business moving forward.“If we have nurses that are needed up in Tahoe, I will put them up for housing. That’s the important point to push. I am not allowing vacationers to come up just because they need to come up,” Liebhardt said. The request from South Lake Tahoe is just that: A request, not a legal order. The mayor said enforcement of the request will be discussed at an emergency city council meeting on Wednesday. The mayor also added that while the request was sent to rental property permit holders, the same message applies to homeowners that have a second home in Tahoe, which is to stay home.City officials in Truckee posted a similar request on Facebook on Tuesday, saying, “Now is not the time to come to our community. If you are visiting for the day or short term, please respect our request to return to your primary place of residence.”Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Ken Cutler issued a local order Tuesday on short term rentals:“While short-term lodging facilities may help temporarily house local homeless populations or critical infrastructure workers, they should not house people for non-essential needs such as short-term vacation rentals. This Nevada County Order applies to hotels, motels, condominiums or other units. If a short-term rental does not fit into the categories listed in the local order, it should be closed.”The vacation rental management company Vacasa began notifying homeowners and guests and canceled reservations statewide when Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the stay-at-home order on March 19. Renters who were staying in a Vacasa-managed property at the time the order was issued were allowed to complete their stays so they were not left without shelter, but future check-ins were not allowed, according to a Vacasa spokesperson.

South Lake Tahoe city officials sent a message on Monday to all vacation homeowners, short term rental property owners, hotels and motels to stop rentals immediately amid the coronavirus outbreak. The city is requesting rentals stop until at least April 23.

The immediate request for all vacation homeowners to stop rentals comes after the city saw thousands of visitors last weekend despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mandatory order to stay at home order.

Mayor Jason Collin said visitors are traveling for non-essential needs, and could be held accountable for a misdemeanor charge.

“We are very kindly asking people to not to come to Tahoe. We love our visitors, we just don’t want you here right now,” Collin said.

City officials are concerned about visitors coming into town given their limited health care resources. Barton Memorial Hospital is the only hospital for the city. The hospital has nine ICU beds, according to a hospital spokeswoman. Collin said the hospital has fewer than 10 ventilators.

The hospital services up to 35,000 residents in the city and county alone, Collin said.

“That’s not enough. That’s not enough for 30,000 people,” resident Shira Martorana said.

Barton Health said it is working with other local hospitals to share resources in preparation for a potential influx of patients. In the meantime, residents like Martorana are applauding the city’s request to pause vacation rentals because she is especially prone to lung infections.

“I survived swine flu in 2009, but I was sick for six weeks, in and out of the hospital three times. And so I have scar tissue in my lungs,” Martorana said.

Kathy Liebhardt, owner of Tahoe Destination Vacation Rentals, agrees with the city’s decision to pause rentals to vacationers, but she is concerned about the timeline since city officials are asking all current renters to leave now.

“I’m going to disagree with that. I have a family in from Australia. Where are they supposed to go? I can’t tell them just to leave,” Liebhardt said. “I have a family in from Germany, same situation. Am I supposed to just kick them out? Where are they supposed to go?”

Liebhardt is letting her current renters stay put since their flights have been canceled, she is transforming her vacation properties from places of leisure into places of business moving forward.

“If we have nurses that are needed up in Tahoe, I will put them up for housing. That’s the important point to push. I am not allowing vacationers to come up just because they need to come up,” Liebhardt said.

The request from South Lake Tahoe is just that: A request, not a legal order. The mayor said enforcement of the request will be discussed at an emergency city council meeting on Wednesday. The mayor also added that while the request was sent to rental property permit holders, the same message applies to homeowners that have a second home in Tahoe, which is to stay home.

City officials in Truckee posted a similar request on Facebook on Tuesday, saying, “Now is not the time to come to our community. If you are visiting for the day or short term, please respect our request to return to your primary place of residence.”

Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Ken Cutler issued a local order Tuesday on short term rentals:

“While short-term lodging facilities may help temporarily house local homeless populations or critical infrastructure workers, they should not house people for non-essential needs such as short-term vacation rentals. This Nevada County Order applies to hotels, motels, condominiums or other units. If a short-term rental does not fit into the categories listed in the local order, it should be closed.”

The vacation rental management company Vacasa began notifying homeowners and guests and canceled reservations statewide when Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the stay-at-home order on March 19.

Renters who were staying in a Vacasa-managed property at the time the order was issued were allowed to complete their stays so they were not left without shelter, but future check-ins were not allowed, according to a Vacasa spokesperson.

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