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The Governor better be right or Park City is going to implode again like it’s the 1950’s

The longer you stick around Park City, the more you realize that we are really ruled by two things, the Utah legislature and the Governor. With all due respect to our city and county councils, most material decisions come back to whether our “benevolent” rulers in Salt Lake City will squash us like a bug.

It’s been no different with the Corona Virus. Take Park City schools, for example. It was obvious in late March that Park City schools would be closed for the year. We even wrote an article about that saying we need to plan now, so teachers have time to get ready. We got push back from the school district saying “it’s not that easy.” Then the governor spoke on April 14th and closed schools for the year. Suddenly, it was that easy — at least for the Governor.

This brings us to present-day where Governor Herbert is “opening up” the state. His plan involves moving from the current Orange Phase (moderate risk) to the Yellow Phase (low risk). Summit County, along with four other counties aren’t permitted to move to Yellow — yet. However, it is expected that next week, the Governor is going to grace our county with the ability to move to the low-risk phase.

Here is what that means, courtesy of the Utah Health Department and Salt Lake Tribune.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

What I read from this is that we will be back to business as usual. Restaurants will be open. The shops will be open. You can play sports again. Best of yet, don’t bother wearing a mask unless you are not capable of staying six feet away from someone. Who can’t do that?

Yet, I struggle with the logic of this for Summit County. On the one hand, this could be good for our economy. If people return to their old ways of consumption, our economy will bounce back for the Summer. Yet, if people go back to their old ways of consumption, the number of infected will rise. If that rise is too much and coincides with Winter, we are toast.

Imagine what happens if our Covid numbers start to rise in November. We closed our economy with less than 200 people affected per day in Utah. It’s logical to assume that if we consistently rise up to that level again, we’ll close it down again (If not, then why did we do it in the first place?). As we open up, with few real-world restrictions, people are going to come back. With them will come the disease. As people congregate, the disease will spread.

I fear that we are trading short term gains for long-term pains. Yes, it will likely help local businesses in the near-term to be open now. However, if anything we are doing now leads to Winter being canceled, we will have committed a grave mistake. If Vail, Alterra, and Sundance do not generate revenue this season our local governments will be the ones standing in the bread line, alongside us.

I think the Governor is making a huge gamble by going game-on so quickly. Frankly, we need to keep the fear of God in people through November. People don’t get nuance.

I think that’s the only way we stand a chance of making it to the Winter without a spike in cases. It’s the only thing that will keep the whole thing from being shut down.

If you want to see what that’s like, I would schedule a trip to The Park City Musem (once it’s open) and pay attention to what happened to Park city in the 1950s. It wasn’t pretty.

Comments

5 Comments

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Moe

Thank you!

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Walt

I’m gettin’ whiplash! I thought we liked (as of your last post) the new slower pace of life/less traffic in PC!

I think the testing capacity in place *might* allow this to work out fine if the state commits to contact tracing and staying on top of it. That’ll be necessary to have a ski season anyway, so the summer might be a good time to test it out.

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Parkrag

Hi Walt. Good to hear from you. I definitely do like the slower pace. That said if there is no ski season and no Sundance this town will get crushed. That slow pace may be nice (and preferable in some ways), but I think the pain on the majority would outweigh that.

So, I like the slower pace, think we should keep it slow as long as we can, hope that stretches the curve even longer, and enables schools, resorts, and Sundance to open up. That said, if only about half the visitors came back, I’d probably be happier.

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KB

So let me get this straight…
We need to say closed, just long enough so that all of our businesses don’t go under, but maybe let some of them (eg our neighbors’) business die because we like it slower, and you know because science. On the other hand, if we open too quickly, then we risk park city being the type of place that’s (paraphrasing Yogi Berra) so busy nobody goes there anymore and the town dies anyway. So either way we’re economically doomed. Right?

Maybe we should just tear down the lifts and just give up? Side benefit – 224 traffic problem solved.

Personally, I’m in favor of rolling the dice and getting back to work. If others choose to let fear rule their lives, that’s fine – just don’t go out. Life is all about risks… COVID is a low one

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Parkrag

KB-

Sorry for not approving this quicker. I didn’t see it until this morning. Your perspective is a valid one, in my opinion.

That said, my perspective is that the main objective has to be having a winter season and Sundance. If that doesn’t happen, most gains over the summer will be lost anyhow.


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