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0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02e0000KPCW's COVID-19 news coverage for Summit County and Wasatch County, Utah. 0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02f0000You can also visit the Utah Department of Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization websites for additional information.

Summit County Will Issue New Health Order End Of April


The Summit County Public Health Director will issue a new health order on or near May 1. The move to this new phase of the COVID-19 crisis will allow some businesses to open while keeping stringent social distancing and sanitization guidelines in place.

Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough says the order will not be like flipping on a light switch and allowing the relaxation of critical safety measures. He is calling the next step the moderate phase that will allow the community to function at some level, still to be determined.

“Those overarching principles are consistent with the plan that the Governor has released from Utah leads together 2.0, and it has specific indicators and markers that will allow us to move from the urgent phase all the way down to a phase that is being called the new normal. That will actually occur when there's a vaccine so that's way in the distance.”

There are public concerns on both sides of the decision, whether to open or to stay closed. Bullough says he’ll use data to determine how to manage that balance.

“It would be one thing keeping everything shut down. We would be pretty certain we can control COVID that way. But the problem is, as we know, there are all kinds of other social implications to that. We've got a lot of people out of work. We've got people suffering in many capacities and so I'm of the belief that our data suggests that now is the time that we can begin to ease.”

Bullough says all the social distancing and precautionary measures will remain in place. He says there are representatives from all segments of commerce who are meeting to define what the next phase looks like. He says they’re looking at hotels, spas, salons, gyms, restaurants and other small businesses, to ease restrictions.

“Right now, we’re having conversations about what it would look like if restaurants were to open in some capacity. We fully anticipate at this point in time allowing not just curbside and not just delivery, but allowing third party as well as walk in order, pick up your food and leave. We're also looking at whether or not there are realistic options with respect to some in-house dining. So, this won’t look like normal. Businesses are going to have to determine for themselves whether or not they can operate at a profit under the conditions that will allow for continuing to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Bullough says a primary concern is that COVID-19 will most certainly spike again. Park City and parts of Summit County attract people from other areas to dine, recreate and shop. He expects the next order will allow for a maximum of 20 people with up to 50 allowed to gather as the risk of contagion diminishes.

“The information coming out about a spike in the fall is incredibly concerning. We are going to be monitoring this very closely. We are in the shoulder season right now. Now is probably a good time to pilot some of these easings and keep a real close eye on it throughout the summer. Our strategy is the Health Department the County and I believe the community strategy needs to be to prepare for the fall because we are going to see a resurgence. I will be shocked if we don't. All of the data suggests we will.”

Until there is a COVID-19 vaccine, gatherings of more than 50 people will not be permitted. Bullough says they don’t have data to project when mass gatherings would be allowed.

“This is going to be a dynamic give and take. But everybody is going to need to participate, comply and just be smart for this to work and allow us to move forward”

That’s Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough. He says the consequences of a spike in COVID cases will likely result in returning to more shut-downs.”

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.
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