Mammoth Chamber petitions to terminate Stay Home order, threatens to defy the state

Local businesses say they might soon go bankrupt and threaten to defy the state orders despite the public health crisis. 

The Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce started a petition on Friday asking local officials to advocate for an end to the state’s regional stay-at-home order in Mono County despite the region’s 0% ICU capacity. The Chamber also threatened to defy state mandates if the order is not terminated.

More than 500 individuals, mostly lodging property owners, signed the letter that was sent to the Mono County Board of Supervisors and Mammoth Town Council on Tuesday. 

“We need you to fight to convince the Governor that the Mono County and Mammoth Lakes business communities will not survive if the order is extended beyond December 27,” the Chamber wrote. “Businesses are facing the desperate decision to stay open in violation of the orders or go bankrupt.”

The Chamber’s letter does not mention current public health data or metrics, which the state uses to determine mandates. Instead, the letter focuses the mitigation efforts of local businesses and the economic damage the pandemic has caused locally. 

Read: the full Chamber petition with signatures.

Mono County was ordered to stay-at-home along with Inyo County in the Southern California region in response to rapidly increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations in early December. Since then, the region’s ICUs have reached 0% remaining capacity. As of December 21, Northern Nevada staffed hospital beds are 86% full.

Cases of the coronavirus, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to surge in California reaching unprecedented numbers. In Los Angeles County, hospitalizations have doubled since November and public health officials say that number is expected to increase tenfold in the coming weeks. 

“The pace of new COVID-19 hospitalizations is spiking so quickly in Los Angeles County that it is now literally off the charts, forcing officials to redraw the graphics used to illustrate the grim projections for what is ahead,” the LA Times reported.

Statewide hospitalizations increased 63% over the last 14-day period and ICU admissions have increased 51%. The death rate is climbing as well, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday in a briefing. 

There is one new death in Mono County this week. Over the last 7-day period there have been 75 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, a slight decrease in cases from the week prior. The 7-day positivity rate is 24.1%, up from 19% over the previous week. The state average 7-day positivity rate is 13.1%. 

According to California’s regional Stay Home order, after a three week minimum period and once the region has regained more than 15% ICU capacity, counties will be reassigned to the appropriate tier based on local cases and positivity rate under the state’s blueprint for activity. 

Before the Stay Home order was implemented, Mono County was in the state’s most restrictive purple tier. To return to the less restrictive red tier, the county must have less than 7 cases per week and an 8% positivity rate. 

The Mono County Board of Supervisors and Mammoth Town Council have scheduled a joint emergency meeting for Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. to discuss the Chamber’s petition. 

Written public comments can be submitted to the Town Clerk via email at before and during the meeting, or public comments can be made by speaking during the meeting through Zoom and raising your hand at the designated time. 

Recommended Reading:

Will the Ski Bum Survive the Pandemic by Monica Prelle for the Adventure Journal

Mountain communities have faced plenty of challenges over the years—economic inequality and high rent, climate change and drought and wildfires, overtourism, and sometimes a lack of tourism. The ski town workforce, who often work multiple jobs to make ends meet, are finding it harder than ever to afford the cost of living.

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There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.  – Albert Einstein