Ahead of one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, the County of San Luis Obispo is taking steps to limit tourism to the region to protect public health.

“Leisure travel should not take place during a pandemic. Increases in new COVID-19 infections further delays our ability to adapt and reopen together under the State’s Resilience Roadmap,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. “We are taking preventative measures as a starting point to protect public health as we begin a gradual reopening all across the state.”

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.

The County will limit the use of campgrounds to SLO County residents only at County-operated campgrounds at Lopez Lake, Santa Margarita Lake, and Oceano Memorial Park beginning Monday, May 18. In addition, County Emergency Services Director Wade Horton and County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein announced an Emergency Order limiting hotel and short- term lodging occupancy rates to no more than 50 percent only for essential travel to limit the spread of COVID-19. The order reinforces State guidance.

The Emergency Order takes effect at midnight on Sunday, May 17, 2020. It will be reviewed every 14 days to evaluate the need to continue the order.

“Now is not the time to visit,” Horton said. “We look forward to when we are once again able to welcome visitors but right now, we are focused on meeting State criteria to gradually open our community. Tourism puts that at risk.” To see the full order and for more information on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit ReadySLO.org.