Millard Co. warns visitors for Eclipse to be prepared
Oct 6, 2023, 6:36 PM
DELTA, Morgan County — Fridays are generally busier at the Red Rabbit Grill.
“How you guys doing over here?” said waitress Jordyn Zufelt to a group of people who had just sat down for lunch. “Are you ready to order?”
It’s the kind of mom-and-pop restaurant where you can always find a good meal.
Next Friday, though, workers here don’t know what to expect.
The big eclipse is rolling through Utah next week and since Delta is close to the west desert, which is smack dab in the middle of the eclipse path, things in town could get really busy.
“Yeah. That’s what I am hearing,” Red Rabbit Grill manager Rheannon Clark said.
Millard County Sheriff Richard Jacobson said the county has been planning for months for this day.
“What we knew initially is that we didn’t know. It’s hard to know what kind of visitation we’re going to get,” Jacobson said. “We are looking at where we might need to stage the resources. Again, the issue is we don’t know where folks might decide to concentrate. We are hearing some chatter that the west desert will receive some high visitation, so we are putting some resources in place there.”
The thing about the west desert is it’s wide open and relatively empty of modern conveniences.
“It is big out there. Well over 6,000 square miles,” Jacobson said.
Those who are coming to the west desert to see the eclipse who aren’t prepared with their own gas, water, and food, might find themselves in trouble.
There is also a chance the few stores that carry those items could run out.
“I am sure our local businesses are excited to host these tourists, but we need folks to understand we are rural, and we are small in capability,” Jacobson said. “Our restaurants, they are smaller in venue. They’re all delightful, but they’re easily overwhelmed if the numbers are at the levels, we believe they may become.”
Many hotels and campgrounds have been sold out for months.
The sheriff is also asking for people who visit to have patience. Traffic could be an issue, especially with only a handful of paved roads in and out of the area.
There are also concerns about emergency medical services.
EMS crews, fire departments, and emergency management have a plan in place to help those who might need it while considering there may be several emergencies happening at the same time.
The sheriff is planning on having extra deputies and other departments in place next weekend to help.
“We are going to be busy bouncing around making sure folks are safe,” Jacobson said.
The same can be said for the Red Rabbit Grill.
Management is just preparing for what might be quite the weekend.
“We will be stocking up on pizza and cheese,” Clark said with a laugh. “All the things we need to feed the hungry people I guess.”
Even with all the planning, county leaders know this event is supposed to be fun and they can’t blame people for wanting the best spot possible to see it.
“I witnessed a solar eclipse as a teenager here in this community,” Jacobson said. “That was an amazing thing to see. It’s remarkable.”
The eclipse passes through Utah on Saturday, October 14th.