Letters: Park City’s Rotarians have stepped up during COVID-19 pandemic
Rotarians have stepped up
As we lurch into the second half of 2020, it’s a little daunting trying to predict and prepare for the new normal. It seems like the first half was pretty crazy, alarming, infuriating, disappointing — pick your adjective. Throughout it all, I have been so pleased and amazed to see how the Utah Rotarians stepped up in our time of COVID, as they always do.
With 40 clubs (three in Park City alone) and 1,700 members, Utah Rotarians are a major force for good. Not likely to be intimidated by a virus, most clubs pivoted smoothly to online meetings so that the work could continue. Thousands of dollars in funds raised for the coming year were moved up to be distributed now. That way, local organizations feeling the pinch could benefit immediately, when they need it the most. Food banks were replenished with critical supplies. Call-in centers were established where people could turn to for assistance.
Then the real fun began. “Service above Self” is the Rotary motto, and it seems tailor-made for a global pandemic. Rotarians in Summit County and throughout the state sewed hundreds of masks for health care workers. We also assembled 6,000 face shields as the PPE shortage continued. Working with the Summit County Health Department, we bottled over 200 gallons of hand sanitizer and distributed it to local businesses. Then seeing the catastrophic impact to the Navajo Nation, we organized multiple trips, gathering donated supplies from throughout the state. Summit County alone contributed two truckloads of food and essentials to this ongoing effort.
My deepest gratitude to our outgoing Utah district governor, Dr. John Hanrahan, for kicking off this outstanding effort with his call to action. There are more projects in the works at all the Rotary clubs. Visit utahrotary.org if you’d like to join us.
Park City Sunrise Rotary Club community services director
Shield yourself from the virus
Recently the number of COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Utah and to a lesser but still worrisome extent in Summit County. As a result, county officials have requested and received permission from Gov. Herbert to mandate that people wear masks when entering indoor spaces such as restaurants and stores. Enforcement may be problematic. Placing the onus on business employees may result in nasty confrontations, and if customers do not wear masks, employees may be placed at significant risk. I have been impressed by the measures taken by businesses in Summit County to protect their customers, but not so much by the customers’ adherence to the same measures. I fear for employees’ well-being.
A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association touts the use of face shields as an additional and more effective barrier than a cloth mask against respiratory droplets from an infected person. Furthermore, face shields can be reused indefinitely, are easier to clean, are more comfortable, protect the portals of viral entry (mouth, nose and eyes) and allow easy speech and visibility of facial expressions.
Face shields are becoming more readily available as a number of companies are making them. For optimal protection they should extend below the chin in front and to the ears on the sides, and there should be no gap between the forehead and the shield’s headband. For the best protection from non-compliant, unmasked individuals, I strongly recommend that employers provide face shields for their employees. It certainly wouldn’t hurt the rest of us to do the same.
H.R. Rinderknecht, MD
Officials are to blame
A June 30 Park Record article titled “Park City businesses see possibility of permanent closures in coronavirus-ravaged economy” says “businesses (face) an ongoing downturn caused by … the novel coronavirus.” Nothing could be further from the truth! Utah in general and Summit County in specific have been little affected by coronavirus — fortunately! Summit County has logged zero deaths, 47 hospitalizations, and 488 cases to date. Not to diminish the impact coronavirus has had on some residents’ lives, but the impact to ALL residents’ lives and local economy was caused by various levels of lockdowns, mandatory business closures and restrictions on business and individual behavior, out of fear.
Coronavirus didn’t “ravage” the Park City economy — our legislators did! The recent letter from our county officials begging the governor to allow Summit County to impose mandatory mask wearing is a glaring continuation. Adjacent counties don’t require masks in grocery stores. Do you think Summit County merchants might lose some business? Thank our legislators! “Small business workout facilities” in Summit County are required to enforce mask wearing. Big box gyms in Salt Lake — counter-intuitively, despite that county’s similar mandate — don’t require a mask. If this negatively impacts the small gyms and rec centers in Summit County, thank our legislators!
Economies are based on businesses and individuals making decisions — voting with their wallets — all day, every day, a voluntary dynamic that changes organically over time. Mandates on the way businesses and customers must behave are ravaging the economy, and our lives. Thank our legislators, who are to blame! And remember that they interfered with your life, and the livelihood of your favorite businesses, when elections come around again.
“Fear does not stop death. It stops life. And worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.” — Anonymous
Further negotiations needed
It was a big day in 1976 when Violet Terry, president of the board of the Park City Senior Center and Mayor Leon Uriarte signed a 99-year lease for a parcel at 1361 Woodside Ave. The Keetley Depot was a gift from the Union Pacific Railroad, if the Seniors could move the building. This historic building would become Park City’s Senior Center. The Seniors finally had their own gathering space, and have continued to enjoy the center until this day.
Workforce housing has become a priority to the city. It has been negotiating with the Seniors since 2011 on a solution so they can build on that property. The Seniors reluctantly decided to oblige the city with three caveats:
• The 99 -year lease is honored.
• We will attain more space to expand programming and accommodate our growing membership.
• We maintain exclusive use of our facility as we do now.
After several meetings with the city our attempts to reach a solution were not successful and led us to seek the advice of an attorney. We feel that since we have not come to a consensus, the public discussion the city has initiated at this time is premature.
Park City Seniors appreciate the long history of working collaboratively with the city. We would like to continue this relationship, otherwise we are satisfied with staying in our own existing Senior Center. We anticipate further private negotiations with the city will lead to a win/win situation for both parties.
Marianne Cone, Judy Maedel, Cheryl Soshnik, Jim Tedford and Mary Wintzer
Park City Seniors negotiating committee
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Thomas Jacobson of the Utah Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission says in a guest opinion piece that the staffing issues that forced the closure of the Swede Alley liquor store are a result of the state not offering competitive wages to DABC employees.