Park City Councilors Cancel Plans for Special COVID-19 Meeting
Members of the Park City Council said they won’t schedule a special meeting to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
At last Thursday’s Park City Council meeting, councilors indicated their intent to hold a special meeting on COVID-19 sometime this week. Councilors wanted to discuss the pandemic and what options the city might have in order to help slow the recent increase in cases, which has been largely driven by the highly-contagious Delta variant.
It sounds like those plans have been put on hold, at least for now.
Councilor Max Doilney characterized last week’s discussion as “off the cuff” at Wednesday morning’s Coffee With Council discussion at the Park City Library and said he and his co-councilors will now likely look to include a pandemic discussion at a meeting later in September.
“I think maybe we’ve reeled that in a little bit, and we’re gonna try and add that discussion to the agenda at the end of the month and have a real open conversation with the health department and try and maintain a strong relationship with Summit County and with the school district,”said Doilney.
“Because us all acting together provides clarity for the communities so we don’t have a patchwork of behavior and people don’t know what to expect where. That’s one of our concerns.”
Utah has experienced a steady rise in positive cases since early June, and last week’s discussion was spurred by Councilor Steve Joyce’s concerns about Summit County’s current infection rates. Starting in early August, the county has seen cases spike to the highest they’ve been since before vaccines became widely available last spring, according to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard.
After the implementation of the Utah Legislatures “pandemic endgame” bill in March, the power to enact mask mandates or other public health orders was largely taken from cities and towns and given to local health departments and county councils.
It is unclear what actions, if any, Park City could take on its own. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall cited her emergency powers as granting her the ability to require masks in the city’s K-12 schools last month. According to the endgame bill, emergency declarations cannot be made after a previous declaration expires for the same emergency without what the bill calls “exigent” circumstances. Park City first declared a local emergency due to COVID-19 in March 2020.
Summit County also issued a health order last month that put in place thresholds for positive cases in local elementary schools that would trigger a mask mandate.
As the city continues to consider its options, Councilor Nann Worel encouraged interested members of the public to attend next week’s county board of health meeting for the most up-to-date pandemic policy in Summit County.
“The board of health normally meets the first Monday afternoon of every month, which obviously we couldn’t do on Monday this week, so the board will be meeting next Monday at four o’clock,” she said. “Those meetings are hybrid, so you can go in person to the board of health, or you can watch them online and there’s always a really in-depth statistical update on the latest statistics regarding COVID and where things stand in this county and any recommendations going forward.”
The next meeting for the Park City Council is scheduled for September 23rd.