‘Stay At Home’ Order Issued In Summit County
PARK CITY, Utah — Summit County residents have been asked to stay at home and avoid any non-essential travel and operations, according to an issue ordered by local officials.
The order will go into effect Friday at 12:01 a.m., through May 1. It applies to all non-essential businesses, services, visitors, and residents.
“We are asking people to stay at home,” said Dr. Rich Bullough, the Summit County health director. “We were going to hit a critical mass sooner than later, that we would not be able to address.”
Officials said businesses deemed essential include healthcare facilities, banks, hardware stores, post offices, grocery and convenience stores, and restaurants where services are provided under the county’s previous health order.
Farming was okay, and plumbers, electricians and auto repair employees can also work. Officials said the order even allows people to be outside as long as they maintain a safe social distance.
“If we take the social distancing information to heart — if we self-monitor, if we sanitize, if we respect people in our neighborhood, our families, and if we take action to reduce the spread of this thing — the duration of these actions might be reduced,” said Bullough. “We may be able to normalize sooner.”
The county — which has a population of about 40,000 people — has 20 times the number of cases per capita as Salt Lake County.
“When you look at the data, Summit County is a hotspot for COVID-19 statewide, nationally and globally,” said Bullough.
“I guess my gut reaction was super disappointed, but at the same time understanding the big picture, it’s not about me,” said Park City resident and head baseball coach at Park City High School, David Feasler. “And yeah, we’ve had some big impact, but people are feeling it a lot worse than I am.”
Feasler said he’s grateful he still has his teaching job and that the county is putting the public’s health first.
“I’m hoping that when things slow down here that people rally around these small businesses,” he said.
Bullough said he knows the economic impact will be great, but he said the data shows that the sooner they make these changes, the shorter it will be.
“If we don’t take this action, our economy will take a significantly longer and probably greater hit,” he said. “The longer people resist this, the longer people don’t take this seriously, the longer restrictions may last, and the more trouble we may be in.”
He also acknowledged that the situation isn’t easy.
“Isolation is a hard thing. We need to find ways — exercise, reading, whatever you find joy in — to live your life and be healthy, but we have to do it in a responsible way,” said Bullough.
The county is ordering all non-residents to leave as quickly as possible, and if anyone has a planned trip to Summit County, they should cancel it.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s office approved the measures, given the spread of COVID-19 in Summit County.
Salt Lake County Mulls Similar Order
Salt Lake County was considering the possibility of something similar. Mayor Jenny Wilson issued a statement Wednesday on where those talks stood.
“With our first case of COVID-19 in Utah 19 days ago, we are now evaluating the virus’s impacts and modeling its potential spread in relation to our available medical supplies so we have a strong, data-driven platform for making critical decisions about potentially modifying health orders and recommendations,” Wilson said.
The mayor said county leaders were evaluating data on the spread of coronavirus in Salt Lake County, and planned to release additional information at a later time.
At the same time, county leaders have looked at ways to beef up enforcement against flagrant violations of social distancing orders.
In some very rare cases, Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill said there were laws already in place that can allow conviction of a class B misdemeanor on the first offense, and a class A on the second.
“The reason you have that enforcement mechanism is not for the 99 people that are going to agree with it,” he said. “It’s that one person who is not, whose conduct undermines the desire to mitigate against this infectious transmission.”
These would be only for people who were intentionally and repeatedly disobeying health guidelines for avoiding gathering in large crowds.
Gill said that officers would not be knocking on doors, looking for problems. He was working with county leaders to write up some of those guidelines.
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How Do I Prevent It?
The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
- Avoid touching your face
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.
How To Get Help
If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.
If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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