Park City official issues coronavirus warning: ‘Be careful. It’s not over. It’s accelerating.’
There are continuing worries about the sickness as community enters the summer-tourism season
A member of the Park City Council on Thursday warned of the continuing threat of the novel coronavirus, indicating the sickness is spreading even amid the vaccination efforts and saying people must be cautious with regards to the disease.
City Councilor Steve Joyce provided the brief comments during a meeting that was held at the start of what is normally a busy stretch in Park City with the Independence Day festivities having begun on Friday and expectations that the weeks ahead will be solid economically in a range of tourism-related industries.
Joyce indicated the coronavirus case rates in the past month have climbed sharply in Utah. The numbers are also up in Summit County, a place with a high rate of vaccination, he noted.
“Be careful. It’s not over. It’s accelerating,” Joyce said on Thursday.
In April, he said, there were those who “declared the end of Covid” based on the distribution of vaccines. However, 2 1/2 months later, there are those who have not received a vaccination and there are shots that are “not in people’s arms,” he said.
Joyce, a first-term city councilor who opted against seeking reelection this year, did not discuss the topic in further depth. The comments, though, highlighted the persistent coronavirus worries in Park City.
The community in March 2020 was the location of one of the first clusters of coronavirus cases in the state. The shutdowns that spring designed to curb the spread of the disease temporarily crushed the Park City economy before businesses mounted an extraordinary comeback starting later in 2020 and extending into this year.
The timing of Joyce’s comments was notable as Park City enters what is traditionally the busiest period of the summer-tourism season, running from Independence Day until Labor Day. There is hope in the business community that the expectation-beating economic numbers posted last fall and during the ski season will continue through the summer.
Leaders this year tinkered with the schedule of the Fourth of July celebrations based on concerns about the coronavirus. Notably, the Independence Day parade, usually scheduled on July 4 itself, was held on Friday instead in an effort to curtail the crowds on what is normally an extremely busy holiday in Park City.
Mayor Andy Beerman on Thursday also addressed the coronavirus situation, keying his comments on the economic comeback of the community. A year ago, he said, people were tentative about being in public, special events in Park City had been canceled and businesses were struggling. The community a year ago was “really unsure of our economy, unsure of our future and concerned about where we’re headed,” he said.
“I don’t think we could be much farther apart than we’ve come in one year,” he said in comparing the concerns early in the pandemic to today, adding, “Amazingly, what I’m hearing from businesses all over town, is they are turning business away left and right because it is booming. And we can’t hire people quick enough. They can’t get their supplies quick enough.”
Beerman added there have been “pretty dramatic changes in town with both people moving here as well as being flooded with tourists.”
He said he is excited people are beginning to gather again, mentioning concerts and the Latino Arts Festival. People are happy to be in public, he said.
“By and large, we’re healthy. We may not be fully over the hump, but compared to where we were a year ago, we know what we need to do. And I am just grateful for where we are,” the mayor said.
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A member of the Park City Planning Commission for at least the second time in less than a year spoke publicly about a concept that would financially involve City Hall in a development proposal at Park City Mountain Resort. Planning Commissioner John Phillips did not address the concept in any depth during a lengthy meeting.