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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 Officials Tell Residents That Normal After COVID-19 Isn't Coming Soon

Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force

Monday’s Conversation With County Council looked back on the county’s revised Health Order on April 30th, which Lifted a Stay At Home Order.

But county officials warned residents that they’re not returning to Normal anytime soon in terms of how they travel, interact with others, or hold mass events.   

During the Conversation, County Health Director Rich Bullough said that thanks to the public, they have good data, with relatively few new COVID-19 cases, and a high percentage of patients recovering from the virus.

But he said it’s still a good idea to follow precautions, like staying at home as much as possible.       

“But unless you need to be out, it makes sense to be safe, and you’re safe at home.  It’s not an order any longer, but you should be grouping shopping trips.   You should be smart about where you find yourself, whether or not you’re in close proximity to people, what businesses you are frequenting.  You need to be sure that those businesses are following safe practices.  And then your personal behavior hasn’t changed.   Washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, wearing a mask.  We didn’t include in the order that masks were mandatory to wear in public, but we absolutely expect that people wear masks in public.  That is smart.   If you’re gonna go to the grocery store or any other business, you should wear a mask.”

One question from the public was about keeping tourists out of the county.    County Council Member Roger Armstrong said they can’t legally do that, but they want to discourage visitation.      

“We’ve got a patchwork of regulations all around the country.  And we’ve got a patchwork of disease progression all around the country.   It’s expanding rapidly in places like South Dakota and Iowa and other states.   And it’s leveled off here.  So we did a pretty great job of asking people to stand down from regular activity and shutting down businesses for a short period of time, so that we could protect our health-care systems and allow this thing to flatten out.   It worked.  Other jurisdictions have not done that.”

And on the other side of the coin, Bullough advised residents that if they travel to other hot spots, they should self-monitor when they get back home, and limit their movements and contact with other locals.

Bullough and Armstrong both said it’s a worry to them that Salt Lake and Utah Counties are still reported as areas with COVID growth—and many local workers come from those counties.

Another caller asked about the likelihood of holding the Fourth of July Parade, or hosting a wedding that could attract a couple hundred people.

To that, County Manager Tom Fisher said he doesn’t think it’s safe to hold gatherings of over 20 people in the near future.     

“And I think it’s incredibly risky to be planning a large 50-to-200 person event within the next three to six months, because we don’t know what’s gonna happen.  What we do know right now is that gatherings over 20 are not allowed.  And those 20 are supposed to be of the same household.  That’s very restrictive.   And so there’s a lot of different thoughts about groups of 20, and socially distancing them, and putting them in large venues so that they can spread out.  But I think we’re gonna be fairly strict about that.”

Bullough said that Governor Gary Herbert has made it clear that gatherings of over 50 people won’t be allowed until they reach a New Normal, or Green stage.   And that won’t happen without a vaccine.       

“ We’ve all heard on the news that vaccines—the most optimistic, very most optimistic forecast that I have seen—are the end of 2020, they will be identified and approved.   That doesn’t mean manufactured.   And so I would speculate that we’re well into 2021 before groups greater than 50 are gonna be allowed.”

Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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