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Tahoe-Truckee retailers, nonprofits brace for shutdown’s impact on holiday shopping

Rebecca O’Neil

Sierra Sun

The North Tahoe EATS! Facebook Page was launched this year for restaurant owners to post business updates including hours, contact information and daily specials.
Photo: North Tahoe EATS! Facebook

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Round two of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shelter-in-place order, nine months after California’s first surge, looks a little different this winter.

Non-essential businesses, including restaurants and retailers, will remain open under specific restrictions. Retailers peak sale season, the holidays, will be interrupted for the next three weeks, with indoor operations limited to a 20% capacity.

The second time around, skiing has been determined to be a low-risk activity, allowing resorts to remain open. Tahoe’s slopes are accessible to season passholders or backcountry riders. The future of other businesses who rely on snowsports tourism remains unsure.



According to Liz Bowling of the North Lake Tahoe Regional Association, the NLTRA is one organization in the network dedicated to providing local businesses the support they need to survive the pandemic’s second wind.

Bowling said the NLTRA has convened industry meetings to discuss funding resources and support campaigns since March.



Takeout Tahoe is just one of the initiatives on NLTRA’s site. The campaign includes includes a downloadable guide to help navigate over 150 restaurant options in the region to support and promote local businesses.

The page includes a contest element that will award restaurant gift cards to further support eating local. The page also reminds diners to dispose of their waste responsibly, acknowledging that more take out means more trash in the form of takeout containers.

The North Tahoe EATS! Facebook Page for restaurant owners to post business updates including hours, contact information and daily specials.

North Lake Tahoe kicked off a five-week shopping challenge that extends the mission behind Small Business Saturday, encouraging residents and guests to shop local. The free shopping contest will run through the Goosechase App, offering a scavenger hunt of sorts, awarding players points as they shop through five distinct districts in the region.

NLTRA has also continued the gift card recovery program in launched in March to promote local online shopping. The association created a portal to provide holiday shoppers with the resources they need to explore available gifts online.

Patty Cooper is a sales associate who has worked at Cabona’s, the oldest retail establishment in Truckee, for five years.

Cooper said the store, normally packed for the holidays, is not doing well per se, but their financial situation could be worse.

“We’re surviving,” Cooper said, attributing the endurance to loyal customers who opt to buy online. “It’s a lot about returning customers who are faithful to buying things in this store — that’s basically what really brings us business.”

Cooper said she shares concerns for losses in her store’s revenue, but appreciates that health has remained a priority.

“We strictly enforce the mask policy, over the bridge of nose,” Cooper said. “We’ve had a lot of conflict from people who don’t like to be told what to do.”

Cooper said store’s limit on capacity capacity has slowed revenue this holiday season, as expected. Cooper noted that the restrictions do not seem to affect the steady stream of tourists to the region, or help their attitude.

“They tend to be the ones who are the worst about the mask request,” Cooper said. “We have signs posted everywhere but there are still some people who cop an attitude.”

Cooper said her coworkers take the restrictions seriously, but their concern for the health of their community is not always shared.

“We’ve had people cough on us,” Cooper said. “We told a customer to cover her nose and she pulled her mask down and coughed intentionally on us.”

This article was first published Dec. 11 by the Sierra Sun and is republished here with permission. Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com.