By Ed Wallace, Publisher at / May 11, 2020

Last week, Governor Herbert and the Utah Department of Health rejected a petition from various county commissioners and city mayors to allow Washington, Iron and Kane counties to lower the coronavirus threat level from orange to yellow, or low risk. The request was supported by Dr. David Blodgett, director of the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, and spokesman David Heaton. As of May 5, the number of COVID-19 cases across Southwest Utah stood at 121, with 78 of those cases being “recovered,” three currently hospitalized, and three deaths. The combined population of the three counties exceeds 240,000.  

This petition calls for our state leaders to reopen and restore Southwest Utah’s economy.

The petition argues there are 10 reasons why SW Utah is ready to open things back up. Among those is a plea that businesses are going bankrupt. Yet, the government has not closed down or stopped its services, and salaries continue to accumulate.

This is a petition for the ready, willing, and able who want to do their duty by being responsible for their own lives and keep people employed. Small businesses are not sure how long they’ll be able to hold on while the economy is closed. For every day a business is closed, it takes 2 weeks to recover the revenue. Being closed even 10 days will take 5 months to recover. Most businesses have been closed for 2 months. The Governor’s “Utah LeadsPLANS a YELLOW through September and then predicts a recovery out to 2022, with a strict ‘NEW NORMAL’. The Health Department has waited since 1930 for this chance to wield its power.

By signing this petition we understand the risk we are embarking on. We know that COVID-19 is real and the risks this virus poses; however, we will take the necessary precautions to take our lives back and get Utah working again. The health standards for food preparation have been in place for a long time and have worked thus far. Food-service workers will still wash their hands, wipe down their tables, etc.

We need to ask the elderly and compromised to stay home. We need to wear masks, use hand sanitizer, and stay 6’ apart if WE choose, even though social distancing is banned by the First Amendment to the Constitution, which is the freedom of peaceable assembly. Walking the isles of Costco, Walmart,  liquor & recreational marijuana stores is acceptable, but sitting in Church or at Tuacahn is not? This shows we can now safely open all small businesses and let life return to normal.

The best thing the government can do is get out of the way. Most politicians will find this reality hard to face because they honestly believe that the right policy adjustments can solve everybody’s problems. It is not the government’s place to decide what aspects of our lives are essential or nonessential. The private sector bails out the government every day of the week by paying taxes. Without people and businesses earning money, where would the government be?

It is beyond the conception of many lawmakers to think that people are capable of educating themselves and able to take fitting actions to benefit their own health. It is also ignorant to think that businesses and people won’t readjust to a recognized threat. It’s time to open all businesses that want to and let them figure out how to do it with precautions and with acceptable risk. If one is concerned, they should stay away. People are never forced to go to a business any more than they should be forced to stay away. People have a right to live their lives, work, and pursue the American dream.

There is no way that our economy can escape taking a major hit from this epidemic. It already has. Instead of masking or ignoring the changing conditions, it is the ability of people and countries to adapt that creates true economic resilience. Small business is the lifeblood of our economy and we need to appreciate their financial vulnerabilities. It’s up to our policymakers to decide if we get through this crisis more or less prosperous and free than when we began. A poorer Utah will be a more vulnerable and less healthy Utah.

We understand this petition is not for everyone, but we know this is necessary for SW Utah. We are not northern Utah or Park City. We have different statistics. COVID-19 can’t live in the heat nor sunshine and Saint George has already hit 96 degrees on May 6th. 

Four counties in Utah have NO reported cases of COVID-19 including Beaver County which relies heavily on travelers to gas-up and eat without ANY viral transference. Up to now, an area bigger than many states (23 of 29 Utah counties) in the east have had no known COVID-19 deaths. There have been only three fatalities to have occurred in the entire 435 area code:

3-26-20According to the health department, a woman in her 50s from Iron County, died Thursday while receiving treatment in a Salt Lake-area hospital. She had significant underlying health conditions.

4-23-20 – The Utah Department of Health announced the first death of a resident in Washington County to the COVID-19 coronavirus. The department confirmed that a woman with underlying conditions in her 60s passed away in Washington County of the virus. The woman is the second person overall in Southern Utah to succumb to the virus. On March 27, died of the virus in Salt Lake City

5-3-20, The Southwest Utah Public Health Department (SWUPHD) announced Tuesday a third resident has died at a local hospital after battling COVID-19. “We are saddened to announce the death of one of our residents who passed away May 3rd in a local hospital. The patient was a male over age 50 who had COVID-19 along with other underlying health conditions. There is a report that the man was actually a resident of Page, AZ and was being treated at DRMC.

All 3 deaths had underlying health conditions. It has been widely reported that 99% of COVID-19 deaths had underlying health conditions that may have been the actual cause of death. In the past two weeks, 40 people have died in WashCo from natural age-related causes, accidents, and suicides.

In the past two weeks, 40 people have died in WashCo from natural age-related causes, accidents, and suicides. COVID-19 is one more thing in a world filled with things that can kill us. The nanny-state can’t protect us from LIFE.

Under Utah law “53-2a-206 State of emergency”, the state of emergency cannot extend beyond 30 days without a Joint Resolution of the Legislature. The state of emergency was issued March 6, 2020, and expired on April 5, 2020.

We petition Governor Herbert to immediately let SW Utah and those other 22 counties to get back to life as normal (but with perpetual monitoring in case of a localized flare-up somewhere) and urge businesses to take advantage of the reopening to get a running head start on their national and international competition. America needs someone to be farming, mining, drilling, and manufacturing right now. Why not Utahns in the 435? Why not SW Utah first?

Reopen rally in Salt Lake

We ask for the return of common sense and rational thought.  We will do our part to both stop the spread of COVID-19 while patronizing beloved businesses that keep SW Utah’s economy moving forward.

It’s time for each of us to decide if we want to remain free-born citizens or wards of the state. How many of your freedoms are willing to lose? Thankfully, there are thousands of people doing what people have always done: cooperating and caring for each other. Now that we’ve learned how to wash our hands, let us continue to follow better health practices, and open up our economy again.

Join us to tell Salt Lake City that SW Utah is open! Come to the Utah Shakespeare Festival. See a play at Tuacahn. Visit our parks and breathe in the clean air. Play golf on our 25 golf courses. Swim, bike, eat, enjoy, and PLEASE take responsibility for your safety.

End the shutdown. Let America be America…. The land of the free and the home of the brave.

Please share this and get more support.

Track the stats:

County        Reuters cases/death

Beaver          0

Box Elder        21

Cache        58

Carbon          7

Daggett          0

Davis              336/2

Duchesne      9

Emery          5

Garfield          3

Grand          4

Iron        29

Juab            8

Kane            3

Millard            5

Morgan          10

Piute            1

Rich            0

Salt Lake          3291/44

 San Juan        147/3

Sanpete              6

Sevier              8

Summit          385

Tooele            77

Uintah              7

Utah        1346/11

Wasatch        176/1

Washington     125

Wayne            0   

Weber               179/2