Dear Friends and Neighbors-
These are harrowing times and Placer County is taking many steps to serve you through this crisis. I urge you to stay in touch through our special COVID-19 webpage. Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors received a report from Dr. Aimee Sisson further strengthening her plea for us all to shelter in place and restrict all non-essential travel. Please follow her Directive and protect yourselves, your loved ones, and your community.
We have received many questions and comments related to visitors travelling through Placer County to the Tahoe area during this crisis. I want to assure you that our business community were the leaders in initiating the discouragement of visitation to the area. They acted before the Governor’s Executive Order and have continued to strengthen those efforts.
I wanted to take a moment to walk through a timeline of actions that the county has taken in the last few weeks dealing with this specific issue.
• March 3: Placer County Declared a State of Local Emergency
• March 6: Placer County opened Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to streamline communication among public safety, public health and law enforcement officials to actively respond to public health and safety needs.
• March 15: Major ski corporations self-initiate closures of their resorts in Placer County
• March 18: North Lake Tahoe Resort Association (NLTRA) sends a message advising travelers to “stay home” and avoid Tahoe. Placer County shares this information. https://www.nltra.org/events-trainings/north-lake-tahoe-asks-visitors-to-refine-travel-plans-amid-covid-19-pandemic/.
• March 19: Placer County worked with city representatives on consistent implementation of Placer County Health Officer’s Directive to Shelter in Place and restrict all non-essential activities. Released at 3pm.
• That evening, California Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order for California’s stay at home order at “their place of residence”
• March 20: Conference call with North Lake Tahoe Resort Association (NLTRA) to develop a survey to lodging businesses – both commercial properties and professional property management firms. Majority were already closed or in the process of closing and cancelling future reservations. Many reported enormous volumes of visitor cancellations. Worked on multi-prong approach to educating potential visitors, dealing with STR owners, and contacting state officials for assistance.
• March 22: Notified all short-term rental (STR) operators of the Governor’s Order for banning non-essential travel.
• March 23: Continued efforts with NLTRA to contact Federal/State/Business officials to address concerns with online platforms including Airbnb and VRBO – encouraging restrictions on their on-line platforms for rentals at this time.
• March 24: Placer County Public Health Officer Dr. Sisson clarifies that commercial short-term rentals and leisure travel are not allowed under Governor Newsom's Executive Order and should be ceased. Short-term rentals that aren’t in compliance with the guidance may be reported to Placer County’s short-term rental hotline at 530-448-8003. Reports may also be made online at http://www.hostcompliance.com/tips.
• March 25: Dr. Sisson's comments shared with all TOT certificate holders.
Steps moving forward specific to Short Term rentals:
• Further publicize Short-Term Rental hotline number for reports of suspected rental activities in violation of Governor’s Executive Order.
• Working with our contractor Host Compliance to identify properties currently renting and reach out to inform them on Governor’s Executive Order.
• Requesting real-time reports from Host Compliance on rental activity.
• County code enforcement follow-up on complaints received by Host Compliance via calls to inform of Governor’s Order and issue warnings
• Law enforcement to proceed, as time allows, with citations for those ignoring the Governor’s Order
• Continue to engage Bay Area market outreach regarding concerns for our rural communities
• Provide on-going State advocacy to amplify messaging to owners and renters.
As we all know, this is an ever-changing situation, but I can assure you Placer County staff is working 24/7 to try to do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our citizens. I will continue to provide updates to you as needed, but you can stay up to date with Placer County's COVID-19 page. Please take care of yourself and follow the Governor's Executive Order.
Thank you and be well.