SALT LAKE CITY — Davis, Weber and Morgan counties in northern Utah are looking to loosen restrictions on businesses and reopen them — carefully — as soon as May 1.
Health officials call it a “soft-opening,” where dine-in restaurants and other businesses, such as gyms, cautiously reopen.
Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega welcomed Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt to outline what the reopening will look like in a week.
“A lot of people are on the opposite side of this, thinking this is just too soon. Do you think that it’s too soon?” Debbie asked Mayor Witt.
“We’re letting businesses and individuals and families decide for themselves what makes sense, given some careful parameters. This is really a hard line to manage because you have to be neither excessive nor careless. We’re trying to put some responsibility back in the hands of individuals and businesses,” the mayor said.
In a pickle
Dave lives in Kaysville and was looking for a little bit of recreation time in town.
“One of the hardest moments for me. . .when reality really set in, was early on. My friends and I ran over to the pickleball courts in Kaysville, and they were shutdown. Are those going to open back up?” Dave asked.
“We didn’t have any problems with people actually playing pickleball,” Witt said. “There’s plenty of space there. It’s the people waiting to play pickleball where we’re seeing a problem, because they were all crowded in there waiting. So that’s what was hard to manage.
“I think if we can do some very careful social distancing. If people can be responsible because we do not want to be out there policing people standing in line. That’s one thing we’re not going to do,” Witt said.
Reopen businesses, but softly
“Mayor, define soft opening for our listeners?” Debbie asked.
“It’s not mandatory that these businesses open. It is also not mandatory that you go to these businesses.
“If it makes sense for your business to not open yet, don’t,” Witt said. “There still needs to be social distancing, wearing masks and other procedures. The county’s going to come out with those procedures by [May] 28th.
“This is not business as usual. This is still cautious. This is still baby-stepping back to normalcy,” she said. “I’m not going to go out and be hugging people — yet. I trust our people to be making these decisions.”
“Is there something that would cause you to reverse course and say, ‘Alright you guys, I cannot trust you, we’re shutting it down again,’?” Dave asked.
“Obviously, we’re watching the data. We’re watching the numbers, and that’s part of the reason the county felt comfortable going forward in this direction,” Witt said
Witt said if the numbers begin to climb back up again, it might be time to scale back the reopening. She said she’s anticipating that residents will be cautious and responsible.
“So let’s see what happens,” the mayor said.
What happens next?
“Once you figure out that the numbers are going back up, isn’t that a little too late because you might have a number of people who have been infected who are still not symptomatic yet ?” Debbie asked.
“I am trusting our health department to give us guidance. That’s their job. They are my experts on this. I am following what our best advice is.
“Nobody has ever done this before. None of us has ever opened back up after a pandemic. I think everybody’s doing the best they can. We’re being cautious. And like I said, we want to be neither excessive nor careless in the rules. I think people are trying to be moderate in what we’re doing,” Witt said.
Dave said he’s going to be one of the first in line when businesses reopen.
“We are so antsy and itching to get going, to get back to some semblance of normalcy. That doesn’t mean I’m going to be hugging everybody and high-fiving and air-kissing people. But if I can take my family to a restaurant, we would love that,” he said.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
- Get a flu shot.
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707
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