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South Lake Tahoe Struggles To Stay Open While Neighboring Nevada Operates Under Different Health Guidelines

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) – South Lake Tahoe ski resorts are open at limited capacity despite regional stay-at-home orders in effect.

"They do a great job up there in terms of keeping us apart," newlyweds Jeff and Andrea DeKnight said.

The happy couple was taking advantage of the open ski season Friday.

Heavenly Ski Resort is requiring face masks, social distancing in ski lines, and has closed on-mountain dining.

"I have to bring a backpack with waters. It's ridiculous," avid snowboarder Taylor Stromgren said.

And with hotels in South Lake Tahoe largely closed to non-essential guests, there is only one place skiers can get warm: Nevada. A state operating under completely different public health orders.

"We have a mask order on our side of the state line. They do not. We can't stand at the state lines and check IDs. We can't do that," South Lake Tahoe Mayor Tamara Wallace said.

It's a short drive or even ski between states.

"Whatever happens in Nevada affects California," Wallace said.

Mayor Wallace is concerned as regional ICU bed availability drops below 15%.

"We're getting to the point where we are not going to have a place to put these cases…and I'm not certain what we're going to do then," Wallace said.

El Dorado County says ski resorts will likely remain open. Communications Director, Carla Hass wrote to CBS13, "this kind of outdoor activity is among the safest for people to engage in whether they're local or from out of the area."

The regional stay-at-home orders last three weeks. At that point, coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are reassessed to determine whether areas will be able to slowly reopen.

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