A popular vacation destination is shutting down to travelers through Christmas amid rising COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Lake Tahoe vacation travel will be banned starting Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The ban will be in place for at least three weeks, meaning travelers will have to stay away from the popular ski destination over Christmas and through the end of the year.

“Unfortunately, yet again, Tahoe is closed,” Chris Fiore, South Lake Tahoe communications manager, told the Chronicle. “If we can get things under control in the next three weeks, we can reopen just in time for New Year’s.”

The travel ban follows a regional stay-home order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Carla Hass, communications director for El Dorado County, said in a written statement that the region has less than 15% of staffed ICU beds available as a result of rising COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions.

“Our hospitals have begun using overflow areas and utilizing additional respiratory, ICU and emergency room staff, including those from the National Guard, to meet the needs of our communities,” Hass said.

The stay-home order tells state residents to remain at home as much as possible and avoid non-essential travel in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. Outdoor recreation facilities can open only for facilitating physically distanced exercise. Restaurants are open only for takeout or delivery. Hotels must be ready to provide accommodations for essential workers. Attractions like museums, movie theaters, wineries and breweries must close.

Anyone arriving in California should self-quarantine for 14 days, according to the travel advisory.

California has issued stay-home orders for three regions covering 36 counties, or about 77% of the state.

Hass said Lake Tahoe area officials were anticipating the stay-home order and were prepared for it.

“Whatever one’s personal opinion may be about the state’s authority to apply industry and personal restrictions, it’s indisputable that we are in a new wave of serious cases of COVID-19 and it is having an impact on our health care delivery systems,” Hass said.

Lake Tahoe sits on the California-Nevada border and California’s order doesn’t apply to the Nevada side. However, Nevada officials have also added coronavirus-related restrictions on restaurants, retailers and other businesses.

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