Summit County Health Department Weighs In On COVID Risks of Ski Season and Halloween

Oct 15, 2020

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Ski season is just around the corner. Last season was cut off short because of the pandemic, and with numbers on the rise, it begs the question what’s different this time around? 

Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough said this season health professionals know a lot more about the virus than they knew back in March. 

“I think we're in a position where our response is less urgent and more strategic,” Bullough said. “From what I've seen, with the plans for opening, not just ski areas, but businesses in general. I think the businesses are being strategic and the ski industry in particular, I think, has been ahead of us on several measures to make sure that they are able to open and stay open.”

Resorts like Park City Mountain will require reservations for all tickets, and will have additional safety measures. And Deer Valley Resort announced pass holders do not need reservations, but they will have added safety measures for all guests. 

Bullough said based on the new measures introduced by the ski industry, it’s unlikely that the county will have to force the ski season to shut down early. 

“I don't anticipate this year that we're going to be in a position where I am issuing closure orders,” he said. “Again, my observation has been that, you know, businesses in general, have been really responsive.”

But even with additional safety measures, he said there’s still a risk involved with opening for the season. 

Halloween is another event that could be high risk. Bullough said the health department is leaving trick-or-treating up to parents’ discretion.  

You know, I think people need to be left to their own means to figure that out. 

He also said people should follow the new public health guidelines announced earlier this week. 

“We are discouraging gatherings,” he said. “We want to make sure that people distribute candy or treats safely, and our mask order is still in effect. And so if there are gatherings of any kind, whether that's at a household, etc. You know, that order is in effect, that, importantly, the governor's order through the 29th, limits social gathering to 10 or less, for moderate and high risk.”

There’s also a mask mandate in Summit County until January 8, but Bullough said it’s likely that order will be extended.