Record editorial: Park City-area coronavirus backtrack should not be ignored

More than two years ago, in the early weeks of the novel coronavirus pandemic, few of us in the Park City area would have comprehended the danger would stretch for as long as it has.

But with the third summer in the coronavirus era arriving shortly, the area suddenly has backtracked. A glance at the state coronavirus dashboard map late in the workweek showed Summit County shaded in yellow, meaning the coronavirus transmission risk level is medium. Summit County’s canary coloring is conspicuous amid the wide swath of green on the map, indicating the rest of the state is at a low level.

The move to the medium level for Summit County essentially means cases have been consistently rising, even if the numbers are nowhere close to the terrible ones earlier in the pandemic.

It is notable that the increase is occurring during the spring shoulder season, when the Park City area is at its slowest. This is the time when there are few visitors and limited arts and cultural or sporting events to draw crowds. Many Parkites themselves leave for warmer, dryer climates.

And that is one of the reasons why the increase should not be ignored. Memorial Day weekend and the start of the summer tourism season are quickly approaching. Visitors are almost certain to return in larger numbers starting next weekend as they mark the three-day holiday stretch. The event season begins shortly afterward.

There are no public-health restrictions in the Park City area at this point in the pandemic, and mask wearing is only sporadic locally. State health officials have left those decisions to individuals. That is fine for now. We are confident, though, the health officials will revisit restrictions should that sort of step eventually be warranted based on the numbers.

In the meantime, the masking decisions of individuals need to be respected, with the possibility the move to the medium level will influence more people to wear coverings in the Park City area. That is their prerogative, and their decision would be based on any number of factors involving themselves and their families.

Plus, any increased masking could help halt the area’s coronavirus level backtracking. A summer of green in the Park City area would be preferred by all of us.

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