Local Business Studies Stabilization Protocols For Now, Faces Struggles In Future
It’s been five days since Summit County’s revised Health Order approved a Stabilization Phase, with businesses allowed to carefully re-open.
That means many businesses are still figuring out how to operate, and the county is crafting a plan to watch them. That was a topic at Monday’s online Conversation With Council.
County Health Director Rich Bullough said Monday that over the past weekend, the businesses were generally responsible, as they eased their way back into operation.
The county’s Stabilization Order generally followed the direction set by Governor Gary Herbert’s “Utah Leads Together’ guidelines. Bullough said they got the Governor’s permission to create their own program. This wasn’t a deviation from the state’s protocols, but more of a clarification.
“And it’s really important to note that we didn’t develop those. They were developed by the business sectors themselves. We worked with over 30 different business sectors, recruited representatives from those sectors who then worked with business owners and others to develop a language which we have added to our order.”
One caller to the meeting said they had seen several Kimball Junction businesses that were open, but didn’t display signs saying they were a Stabilization business; the workers didn’t wear masks and they didn’t ask customers to wear masks.
Bullough said over the first weekend, they just responded to complaints, but plan to be more proactive. He said they are deploying a force of 40 environmental health inspectors.
“They’re gonna be trained tomorrow on doing inspections. We will have those individuals and our regular staff in the community beginning Wednesday. It’s really important to point out that not all business sectors get inspections. And so some of those signs for restaurants, for example, are going to have a confirmation on them saying that they’ve been inspected. Others may not. So we’ve allowed businesses to open, and not holding them up by getting the signs up and going through the inspection process, etc. That’s gonna be ongoing.”
County Manager Tom Fisher said if residents see a business not following protocols, they can call the county’s Hot Line at 435—333—0050. But Fisher said that one other option, for him, is he just won’t patronize that business.
County Council Member Roger Armstrong seconded that. However, he added that we might be seeing problems because some businesses are still trying to get on board with the protocols.
“I mean, everybody is trying to figure out a way to get back to business after a long shutdown, and trying to re-hire staff and trying to put policies in place. I think there have been shortages of things like hand sanitizer. It may take time to get masks for some businesses, and for others to get all the procedures in place that they need to. So we’re three days into this. And we’re still—businesses are learning, they’re coming up to speed, they’re trying to get their doors open again. So, protect ourselves and make good choices. That’s the best we can do.”
Another caller noted that the county is discouraging visitors. Given that, they asked, how are tourist-related businesses going to recover?
Council Member Doug Clyde had a short answer,
“Slowly, with great difficulty.”
Clyde added they’re thinking of the next ski season. And so they don’t want to start up the economic engine too quickly now. They have to take a careful approach.
“That is definitely not going to include broadly informing the public that this is a safe place to be. On the contrary, right now, we know that it’s not a safe place to be. We may be able to develop procedures and protocols, which we’re undergoing right now, that will make this a reasonably safe place to travel. But we definitely want to be extremely cautious moving forward, because one stub of the toe, and our winter season will disappear faster than you can imagine. And if we see our winter season disappear, we won’t even have the power to run our computers.”
County Council Member Doug Clyde