Park City mayor, worried about ‘setbacks,’ supports remaining in orange phase of coronavirus response
Park City Mayor Andy Beerman on Thursday said he supports the decision keeping Summit County in the orange phase of Gov. Gary Herbert’s response plan to the novel coronavirus.
The orange phase is more restrictive than the yellow one that will govern much of the state starting on Saturday. Herbert this week moved toward relaxing the restrictions in many places in Utah. Summit County, though, requested and then received permission from state health officials to remain in the orange phase. The exemption allowing the county to continue in the moderate-risk phase is for one week.
City Hall did not have a role in the county decision, but the mayor, speaking at a Park City Council meeting, briefly addressed the continuing impacts to the local economy as he predicted a difficult summer.
There are some concerns that remaining in the orange phase will further damage business in Park City. Another line of thinking, though, holds that May is usually a slow month for business in Park City anyway and another week in the orange phase will not lead to greater significant damage to the economy.
City Councilor Max Doilney, a businessman, also spoke briefly about the topic, saying he supports remaining in the orange phase even as he sees people becoming antsy.
In an interview after the meeting, the mayor noted the May timing of the discussions about the phases. He said he prefers the additional time in the orange phase to the possibility of “setbacks” in the summer, when the tourism economy is typically strong.
“Some patience now might save us from some setbacks in the future,” Beerman said.
He said he has supported the decisions by the Summit County Health Department thus far.
The mayor acknowledged receiving split input from the public about the topic. The majority of the opinions from the public involve a desire to reopen the economy slowly with concern about the impact of tourism on the efforts to halt the spread of the illness, he said. Others, though, want the community returned to normalcy, Beerman said.
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Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt died Friday from injuries sustained in an off-duty accident earlier in the week, the agency announced.