Record editorial: Celebrate the Fourth, but coronavirus, fire danger require caution
The crowds have returned to Park City in large numbers even before the Independence Day holiday that usually marks the beginning of summer tourism. There are businesses in Park City enjoying brisk sales during the early weeks of summer. There were lines out the door last weekend on Main Street and the crowds are likely to increase in coming weeks. It is a welcome scene to observe as Park City’s summer begins in earnest.
But it is also a time for caution in the Park City area as we reach Independence Day. It is not a message many want to hear or, unfortunately, will accept, after such a difficult time since the spring of 2020.
There are two threats that we see as especially worrisome as the community enters the time between the Fourth of July and Labor Day.
The pandemic should continue to be treated seriously in Park City, even with the successes of the vaccination efforts. Park City is expected to draw a crowd from across the state for the holiday and then through the rest of the summer, as usual. The Utah Department of Health in recent weeks reported statewide growth in coronavirus cases, a first after months of declining or plateauing numbers. The Park City-area case count per 100,000 people over the past two weeks was pegged at a moderately high rate by the department. The East Side of Summit County, drawing people to the Uinta Mountains and the reservoirs, was classified as a very high rate.
The numbers highlight caution is still needed. Even in the summer, when people are outside, and with so many vaccinated, the coronavirus is spreading locally and in the rest of the state. Variants of the sickness add to the concern.
And the coronavirus is not the only worry as we reach Independence Day. Although the danger of wildfires should be clear to people who live in the Park City area, visitors may not be as aware of the dire conditions after a spell of terribly hot, dry weather. Park City and Summit County leaders have banned fireworks, and the public displays have been canceled. We implore people – Parkites and visitors – to abide by the bans. The consequences could be devastating if they are ignored.
We had all wanted the Fourth of July to be an especially momentous celebration this year. Independence Day, it seemed, could be the date when the nation would issue a symbolic declaration that the pandemic was largely behind us. If the winter was our Valley Forge, we still have hope the summer could be our Yorktown.
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