Startled by California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Monday rollback of statewide COVID-19 rules, local officials, park rangers, hoteliers, restaurateurs and others are scrambling to reopen lodgings, campgrounds and restaurants.
Some — such as the Inn at Death Valley — will restart within days. For others, including the campgrounds at Joshua Tree National Park, it’s likely to be a few weeks.
Most California state park campgrounds remain closed. A spokesman said the agency was consulting with state and local health officials and “appreciates the public‘s patience as it prepares to increase access” to the state park system.
Now that the state has stepped back from the stay-home order that banned overnight vacations and closed restaurant dining rooms and patios in most of the state, county officials are deciding what businesses can open and how they will be allowed to operate. Here are some places that are starting to reopen as a result of Monday’s action.
Death Valley National Park
In Death Valley, the Inn at Death Valley and Ranch at Death Valley, both run by the Xanterra Travel Collection as the Oasis, said they would reopen on Friday. The resort’s restaurant operations are to reopen that day as well.
“We just got that announcement about 10 minutes ago,” a reservations agent said Monday at 2:30 p.m.
Death Valley National Park spokeswoman Abigail Wines said the park will open the following campgrounds on Friday: Furnace Creek, Texas Springs, Sunset, Saline Valley, Eureka Dunes, and Homestake. That leaves Stovepipe Wells, Emigrant, Wildrose, Thorndike and Mahogany Flat campgrounds closed for now, no reopening date set. Wines said that Stovepipe Wells Resort does plan to reopen its lodge, but managers must first re-hire employees.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park will remain closed at least until Saturday, rangers said, because of damage from last week’s wind storm. High winds forced the park to close after at least two giant sequoias fell amid millions of dollars in damage. Cleanup continues at the site while another significant winter storm is due to reach the park Tuesday night, according to a park announcement.
Yosemite will reopen and remain open 24 hours a day. It had been on restricted hours because of the statewide COVID-19 order. The Yosemite Valley Lodge and the Ahwahnee Hotel are set to reopen Feb. 5. The park’s Upper Pines Campground will reopen Feb. 8.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park tweeted last week that campgrounds would remain closed until Feb. 17. However, the national park is developing a plan to reopen sooner. “The park has received notification that the stay-at-home order is lifted and is currently completing a risk assessment to reopen all campgrounds,” spokeswoman Hannah Schwalbe said in an email Monday. “However, we don’t have an estimated date for reopening yet.”
The winter storm that blew through Southern California caused snowy and icy conditions in the national park. Staff are working to reopen Keys View, Geology Tour and Bighorn Pass roads. The storm also may affect campgrounds.
Channel Islands National Park
Island Packers, the Ventura-based concession that runs year-round boat trips to the park’s Santa Cruz and Anacapa islands, said it would resume service on Friday, making use of a recently completed new pier at Santa Cruz Island’s Scorpion Anchorage. Beginning Saturday, Channel Islands Adventure Co. said it would resume offering kayak tours at Scorpion Anchorage.
Island Packers also will resume offering gray-whale-watching trips for Ventura Harbor and Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, its boats operating at reduced capacity under COVID-19 restrictions. A park spokeswoman said that most of its campgrounds (except for Scorpion Anchorage) would reopen Friday.
Palm Springs resorts
In Riverside County, the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau told its members that hotels and other lodging can resume accepting leisure travelers, restaurants can resume outdoor dining and zoos and museums can restart outdoor operations.
Still, the visitor bureau tells visitors: "[T]he COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. It is still critical that Californians continue to wear masks when they leave their homes, maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet, wash their hands frequently, avoid gatherings and mixing with other households, follow all state and local health department guidance and get the vaccine when it’s their turn.”
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo and Safari Park will reopen Saturday to visitors who buy tickets in advance. The zoo closed Dec. 7 when the state’s COVID-19 regional rules were rolled out. In San Diego County, hotels and rentals are open again to leisure travelers, and outdoor dining will return.
Disneyland’s website said the hotels of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim will “remain closed and will reopen at a later date.” Also in Orange County, the Montage Laguna Beach hotel said it was again accepting reservations from leisure travelers, with plans to reopen some outdoor dining areas soon.
Santa Barbara County
Santa Barbara County’s new health order said hotels and lodging for leisure travel would be allowed as of 8 a.m. Tuesday.