Summit County Closing Resorts, Dine-In Restaurants To Slow Coronavirus Spread

Mar 15, 2020, 5:15 PM | Updated: 11:09 pm

PARK CITY, Utah — Summit County officials issued a public health order closing dine-in restaurants, resorts and other establishments to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The order, which went into effect Sunday at 5 p.m., requires the closure of resorts, restaurants, taverns, bars, entertainment venues, fitness and exercise facilities, spas, churches and other businesses at which people tend to gather.

Dine-in restaurants can continue serving food through curbside take-out or drive-through service on a non-cash basis, according to Summit County Health Officer Dr. Rich Bullough.

“We can’t emphasize enough the priority to still make food available. Curbside take-out or drive-thru food service is permitted, but third-party food delivery services are prohibited. Following these orders will contribute to slowing the spread of COVID-19 cases in our community,” Bullough said.

Area grocery and convenience stores will remain open. Bullough said restaurants can accept cash if they follow “stringent guidelines to separate money handling from food handling and implementing cleansing measures between each transaction.”

Restaurants have 48 hours to notify the health department if they intend to implement curbside take-out service.

“We are very conscious of the public health goal of containing the COVID-19 virus to limit the speed of its spread through communities in order to prevent healthcare resources from becoming overburdened and unable to keep up with urgent demand,” Bullough said. “The kinds of businesses and facilities identified represent those for which the risk of community transmission is higher due to groups of people gathering, the potential for contact with virus particles due to proximity, the exchange of cash and credit cards. Given the recent case of community transmission arising from a local restaurant and bar establishment, it is prudent to enact these regulations. In addition, the nature of Summit County as a destination resort community raises the risk of transmission within Summit County from travelers coming here, as well as the risk that there may also be further transmission visitor-to-visitor that may contribute to infections outside of Summit County.”

Summit County Officials Announcing Closures Due To Coronavirus

LIVE: Summit County health officials closing dine-in restaurants to slow spread of coronavirus.

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Sunday, March 15, 2020

David Wakeling, owner of Collie’s, a sports bar in Park City, said he didn’t agree with the county’s decision.

“They gave us about a 20-minute heads up that we are closing now,” he said before the order went into effect at 5 p.m. Sunday. “They’re doing what they think is best but in the circumstance. I don’t think this is quite the right decision is to shut down everybody.”

Bullough said the measures, while drastic, were necessary because Summit County has been disproportionately hit by the virus.

Utah’s first case of community spread was announced in the county on Saturday. Officials said the man worked at the door of a bar on Park City’s Main Street and came into contact with a lot of people.

“Immediately we knew at that moment, for the entire state, and certainly for summit county, the gears had to shift,” Bullough said. “Our community has been incredible in this. These are pretty sweeping actions. And it’s important to note that we’ve received very very little resistance.”

While folks like Wakeling also understood the decision, it will definitely have a major effect on their restaurants and employees.

“I hope that everybody recovers everybody stays safe and stays well and hopefully we get this all over as quickly as we can and get back to business,” he said.

Summit County officials said they will reevaluate the order in two weeks. The order is valid for 30 days, but officials said they anticipate it could last longer than that.

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Summit County Closing Resorts, Dine-In Restaurants To Slow Coronavirus Spread