SLO County tells motels, hotels to limit nightly stays

May 16, 2020

In contrast to decades of positioning itself as a travel destination, this week San Luis Obispo County started airing online ads aimed at discouraging tourism from the Central Valley and elsewhere. On Friday, county officials went a step further.

Lodging facilities of all types—motels, hotels, vacation rentals, RV parks—are being asked to limit their number of rentals. That’s according to a new executive order announced by county officials Friday.

As of Sunday night, all lodging businesses are being asked to limit the number of rooms they rent out to half capacity.

County public health director Penny Borenstein said with Memorial Day and warming weather approaching, there will be an increase in tourists wanting to visit the county.

“We're not shutting down our hotels and motels,” Borenstein said. "[But] we really do want to tamp down the amount of out-of-town visitors."

According to county staff, "the rate of new cases in neighboring counties are higher than they are in San Luis Obispo County. With the exception of Monterey County, nearby counties have seen much higher positive COVID-19 cases per capita than SLO County. San Luis Obispo County has 85 positive cases per 100,000 residents, which is significantly less than neighboring Kings, Tulare, and Santa Barbara Counties, all of which have positive cases per 100,000 in the triple digits."

Borenstein said Friday that county-owned campgrounds like the one at Lopez Lake will be reopening as of May 18, but only for county residents who show proof of residency.