SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KTXL) — While those who live in the Tahoe area year-round are normally welcoming of tourists, it’s what out-of-towners could possibly be bringing to the area this holiday that has some not being as social this go around.
South Lake Tahoe’s population is expected to quadruple for the next few days. The area as a whole will see about a quarter of a million people.
Sue and Danny McLaughlin have lived in Tahoe for decades. On Friday, they said they were well aware that with the current pandemic, this Independence Day weekend is different.
“Most locals that I’m talking to are hiding right now. We’re hiding,” Sue told FOX40. “And we hate to give up this holiday to the tourists. But, I think, for the safety of the town, we’re doing it.”
The fear is not knowing who or how many visitors could have the novel coronavirus.
FOX40’s cameras caught busy beaches and crowded sidewalks Friday, with some wearing masks and some not.
“We are really well prepared for visitors. That’s what we do up here,” said Jesse Patterson with Keep Tahoe Blue. “We want people to be able to come and have a great time. COVID totally changed the playing field.”
Patterson said a main focus during the July Fourth holiday is keep visitor trash off the beaches and lake.
However, many of those resources have been dispersed because of the pandemic. Now, more than ever, Patterson said people need to respect their natural surroundings.
“So, we are asking everybody to be a ‘Tahoe Blue-Gooder,’ which just means clean up after yourself and leave it better than you found it,” Patterson told FOX40.
Whether it’s spreading garbage or a virus, locals like the McLaughlins are pleading for people to show respect to the area and its residents.
“We have to social distance whether we like it or not,” Danny said. “That’s not a choice we have to. So, we need to leave these people where they are and they need to leave us alone as well.”
Danny also said for the past few months, he has seen more and more people who normally live in the area part-time staying full-time and not wanting to go back to their main home, where they could more easily contract the coronavirus.