SLO County issues order aimed at limiting tourism during pandemic

Posted at 3:56 PM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 18:59:38-04

In anticipation of the busy tourism season and in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus, San Luis Obispo County has issued an emergency order to cap lodging occupancy rates at 50 percent.

That means hotels, motels, campgrounds, RV parks, vacation rentals, and other lodging will have to reduce their usual capacity by half.

County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein says she believes that will allow for lodging for the essential workforce that needs to come into the community but discourage visitors from out of the area.

The order goes into effect on Sunday, May 17, and will be reviewed every 14 days.

In addition, county-operated campgrounds at Lopez Lake, Santa Margarita Lake, and Oceano Memorial Park will be limited to San Luis Obispo County residents only starting Monday, May 18.

Dr. Borenstein said the rates of new cases in most neighboring counties are higher than they are in San Luis Obispo County, and the order is an effort to prevent people in those communities from bringing the virus to our area.

She said tourism is one of the areas they are most concerned about when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.

San Luis Obispo County Administrative Officer Wade Horton also announced Friday that the county's stay-at-home order will be allowed to expire this weekend.

However, the county will remain under California's stay-at-home order, which states, "All individuals living in the State of California are currently ordered to stay home or at their place of residence, except for permitted work, local shopping or other permitted errands, or as otherwise authorized."

Since SLO County was not allowed to move forward with its START Guide plan to reopening the economy, Horton said the county will follow the governor's "Resilience Roadmap" for reopening guidance.

As of Friday, May 15, San Luis Obispo County had a total of 240 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Forty-eight of those are considered active.

For more information on the county's COVID-19 response, visit