Park City moves toward canceling slate of sports tourneys, an effort to stop coronavirus spread
Park City leaders on Thursday signaled they want a slate of special events that were still on the calendar this summer to be canceled, indicating attempting to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus outweighs holding the events.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council discussed several special events that have not drawn the same amount of attention as other ones that have already been scrapped in 2020, such as the Park City Kimball Arts Festival, the weekly Park Silly Sunday Market and the Tour of Utah bicycling race.
The elected officials outlined concerns about whether steps could be taken to guard against the sickness as crowds gather for the events. The events that would be canceled are the Triple Crown Sports Baseball World Series, the Park City Soccer Club Extreme Cup and the Ski Town Shoot Out lacrosse tournament. They are scheduled in July or August and range from two days to 13 days in length.
According to City Hall, the Extreme Cup normally has the highest attendance of the three, drawing 10,000. The Triple Crown Sports event normally draws 7,000 while the lacrosse tournament typically has a crowd of 2,000.
Park City Manager Matt Dias said staffers would start the cancellation process with the event organizers. City Hall staffers also plan to evaluate whether measures could be imposed through the permitting of any of the individual events to guard against the spread of the sickness. The evaluations will be conducted on a case-by-case basis. The staffers plan to provide an update to the elected officials within weeks about the efforts to possibly craft plans for the events that address the concerns about the illness. It appeared it would be difficult, though, to create plans to hold any of the events.
The elected officials remain concerned about illness and the possibility of an increasing number of cases as people gather in Park City for special events. They reinforced the concerns at the meeting on Thursday, making similar arguments as they have during previous talks about other special events. Rich Bullough, the director of the Summit County Health Department, addressed the mayor and City Council on Thursday, saying the increasing coronavirus trends are a concern as special events are considered. He called events a “public health risk.”
The mayor and City Council appeared to be unified in their desire that the events be canceled. City Councilor Becca Gerber talked about not having the crowds arrive for the events this year while Steve Joyce, another member of the City Council, noted the danger of increasing the spread of the sickness. The mayor said he prefers events be canceled until the Miners Day celebration, which is held annually on Labor Day.
The discussion on Thursday points to the possibility of an even more difficult summer-tourism season after the earlier cancellations of the larger events. The Park City-area economy has suffered in the first weeks of the summer after the coronavirus ravaged the end of the ski season. Special events like arts and culture gatherings and sports tournaments have long been crucial to the tourism industry of Park City in the summer.
The City Council, meanwhile, did not address several events that are planned in September and October, starting with Miners Day. Others scheduled in those months include the Autumn Aloft hot-air balloon festival, the Park City Shot Ski and the Halloween festivities on Main Street. Miners Day is the largest of those, typically drawing 20,000.
The elected officials see the coming months as critical in the efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus and the impacts on the economy. They want to take steps in the summer to guard against an upward trend in cases as the ski season approaches. The ski season is far more lucrative than the summer and fall.
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A Park City business group said the municipal government moved forward with the works without gathering opinions from the organization.