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Park City prepares for a summer influenced by coronavirus

Crowds packed Park City last year for the annual Fourth of July festivities on Main Street.
Park Record file photo

Park City officials continue to hold conversations about the special-event calendar for the summer amid the concerns of the impact of the spread of the novel coronavirus on tourism during the warm-weather months, offering limited information during an online event on Tuesday.

There has been widened talk in the last two weeks about plans for economic recovery after the disease forced an early end to the ski season, putting numerous people out of work. City Hall and tourism officials hope the economic impact is contained since the shutdown of the mountain resorts occurred so late in the ski season and as Park City was nearing the spring shoulder season, traditionally the weakest stretch of the year for business.

But officials are also preparing for the summer-tourism season, which normally starts in June before the key months between Independence Day and Labor Day. There are numerous athletic and cultural events on the calendar in the summer, providing an economic boost. The Tour of Utah, a large event that was scheduled to have the finish line in Park City in August, was recently canceled, though, delivering an early hit to summer tourism even before the season starts.

The topic was broached during a Virtual Coffee with Council, part of an ongoing series designed to provide updates from City Hall officials about the response to the spread of the disease.

Jenny Diersen, who is the economic development program manager at City Hall, provided some of the key comments on Tuesday as she addressed the special events planned for the summer. Diersen is City Hall’s point person for special events. She said each event works on a different preparation timeline. She said officials are encouraging event organizers to continue to submit applications even as Park City is looking for guidance from health officials.

Diersen said the first week of May will be a crucial stretch in the discussions about the summertime special events, saying she wants to learn of cancellations as well as possible timelines for events that are still planned. She said discussions with organizers of individual events are expected during the first week of May.

She also briefly addressed the plans for the Park Silly Sunday Market, a weekly event in the summer and early fall. The opening day of the Silly Market is scheduled June 7, making it one of the earlier special events on the summer calendar. A Silly Market official recently indicated the opening date remains intact but is dependent on talks with health officials and City Hall that are expected closer to the date. Diersen essentially said likewise, mentioning the talks are ongoing and saying City Hall has received an application to hold the Silly Market.

Diersen also said conferences continue to book dates in Park City in the summer and the fall. She also offered limited comments about the cancellation of the Tour of Utah. Diersen said the event works within an international schedule with marketing and other deadlines. The Tour of Utah organizers “had to make a call,” she said.


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