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The Memorial Day Weekend 2020 Theme: Stay Home, Shop Local

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Sacramento, CA – With many state orders, including California’s, directing residents to recreate close to home due to COVID-19 concerns, the weekend ahead is reflecting a local focus.

The three-day Memorial Day Weekend holiday is nearly here, bringing recreational options that have somewhat expanded due to Mother Lode counties moving into late State 2 recovery mode.

As reported here, Highway 4/Ebbetts Pass and Highway 108/Sonora Pass have reopened following a late-season storm earlier this week. Some Mother Lode lakes such as New Melones and Lake Tulloch have already opened, as reported here, and marina activities have expanded. Additionally, Lake Camanche in Valley Springs is also now open for day use, boating and fishing. Under the state order, none of these areas are open for tent or RV camping or lodging.

Developed facilities including those around lakes within the Stanislaus National Forest, including Pinecrest, remain closed through the end of the month under a recently extended forest order, as noted here. Yosemite National Park remains closed at this time although there are discussions underway as to how when and how it will reopen.

 ‘Shopping Local’, Pondering Future Travel

Now that some restaurants have reopened for limited hours, some with dine-in options, and quite a few local “mom and pop” retailers of nonessential goods are also doing business with safety measures in place, Visit Tuolumne County is promoting the idea of spending some time over the holiday “shopping local,” which supports the community in many ways. Before planning to visit your favorite small retail stores it is a good idea to call to confirm they are open as well as their current operating hours.

For the first time in 20 years, AAA officials say they will not be issuing a Memorial Day travel forecast, as the accuracy of the economic data used to create the forecast has been undermined by the pandemic. However, they share that anecdotal reports are indicating fewer people will be traveling far compared to years past for what is considered the unofficial start of the summer travel season.

“Last year, 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day Weekend – the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes in 2000,” says Sergio Avila, AAA Northern California spokesperson. “With physical distancing guidelines still in practice, this holiday weekend’s travel volume is likely to set a record low.”

That does not mean planning activities are not underway for future trips, as he points out that online bookings through his company have been on a modest rise since mid-April. When it is safe to travel, AAA Northern California anticipates that vacationers will gravitate to road trips and family bookings to destinations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Shortly thereafter, assuming international travel restrictions are lifted, it is likely demand will grow for a wider range of international travel. Avila adds, “We are seeing that Americans are showing preference and inspiration to explore all that our country has to offer — as soon as it is safe to travel.”