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Visitors welcome back in Alpine, Tahoe

The parking lot at Sorensen's Resort in Alpine County was full of vehicles on Thursday afternoon.
Kurt Hildebrand

National Forest campgrounds across Nevada and California, including Nevada Beach and Roundhill Pines Resort in Douglas County, began reopening on Friday after being closed by the coronavirus outbreak.

“Camping is a great way to enjoy our public lands and connect with the outdoors at Lake Tahoe,” said Daniel Cressy, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit public services staff officer. “Visitors are encouraged to recreate responsibly, which plays an important role in the shared stewardship of public lands.”

The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest opened Nevada group campsites and day use areas that hold less than 50 people will also reopen. Visitor centers, including the Taylor Creek Visitor Center at Lake Tahoe and California group campsites remain closed.

“While we understand there may be some excitement to return to these recreation areas,” Forest Supervisor Bill Dunkelberger said. “As the public comes back to enjoy their favorite campground, we encourage them to continue to follow the latest state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health guidance.”

Alpine County Public Health Officer Richard Johnson announced on Wednesday that he is authorizing county businesses to reopen.

“Given the current situation in Alpine County, I am authorizing all sectors for which the governor has released guidance to reopen as soon as this Friday,” he said. “Although we do not plan to inspect facilities for compliance or certify such, we are happy to review any plans.”

Johnson warned that opening does not mean that the coronavirus threat is over.

“We need to continue to keep physically distanced, wash our hands, avoid touching our faces and we are encouraged to wear face coverings when we cannot maintain social distancing especially indoors.”

Johnson said those behaviors are more important than any policy the county or state would impose.

Thursday was the first time in slightly more than six weeks that there hasn’t been a new coronavirus case report in the four counties covered by Carson City Health and Human Services. The Douglas tally is seven active cases, 32 recoveries and no deaths.

On April 29, there were 90 cases, with 48 active and 41 recoveries across Douglas, Carson, Lyon and Storey. As of Thursday there were 244, with 178 recoveries and seven deaths from the virus.

Douglas County will receive $8.93 million in federal CARES Act funding to cover costs from expenditures created by the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced on Thursday.

Funds must be used to cover costs from necessary expenses due to the public health emergency, costs not accounted for in the local government’s most recently approved budget as of March 27, and costs incurred during the period between March 1 and Dec. 30.