Malls Reopening Prompt Excitement & Concern

May 5, 2020, 10:35 PM | Updated: 10:36 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Malls across the state joined the list of businesses opening their doors, prompting both confidence and concern as Utah reported its highest single-day death toll since the start of the pandemic.

“I’m glad to see things reopen,” said Nathan Crane, on his way home from the law firm where he works in downtown Salt Lake City. “I think that we need to be careful. Everyone that’s out in public needs to be acting responsibly.”

Rush hour on Tuesday brought a trickle of pedestrians and drivers passed City Creek Center. It was nothing compared to February and early March, but things could pick up in the area as the mall reopened with extra measures in place to keep people safe.

“I think it needs to happen,” said Matt West, referring to businesses reopening. He said his Airbnb unit hasn’t seen a guest in months. “I think people are going to have a little bit of PTSD coming in to things opening up.”

“It would just feel good to have more life down here,” said Rebecca Richards, who was out for a walk and was wearing a mask. “Obviously, there are concerns because there’s always a concern of the rebound.”

“I think it’s a little soon,” said Kyle Warner, another Salt Lake City resident who said he was only out to take some food to the food bank. “I get it a lot of people are tired and frustrated. There are so many things we could and should be doing to alleviate that frustration that doesn’t involve opening everything up again before it’s safe to.”

Tuesday’s COVID-19 numbers from the Utah Health Department showed an increase of 132 cases from Monday, or a daily rate increase of 2.4%. Fifteen more people had been hospitalized and six more people died, bringing the total number of deaths to 56.

According to the health department, three of the new deaths were men and three were women. One was between 45-60 years old, four were between 61-85 and one was older than 85.

“All had underlying medical conditions,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn. “Two were residents of long-term care facilities; all were hospitalized at the time of their deaths.”

In Monday’s briefing, Dunn said we wouldn’t know the impact of businesses reopening for another week or two.

“Decreasing social distancing always has a risk for increasing the number of cases,” she said. “But I’m hopeful that the policies set in place to slowly roll this out in addition to contact tracing and testing will allow us to stay the course and see a drop in cases in the coming weeks.”

Until then, rush hour is expected to pick up. And the guidance from health officials remains the same — keep your distance, and when that’s not possible, wear a mask.

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Malls Reopening Prompt Excitement & Concern