Our view: Expect more event cancellations this summer


January 20, 2021

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic led to a lot of event postponements or changes worldwide and our little corner of it in Sweetwater County was no exception. Flaming Gorge Days, International Day, high school graduations, River Festival; the summer was quieter for sure.

Initially, our belief was that this summer would take place in a vastly different environment where everything would largely be back to normal. We could enjoy the summertime events we missed out on last year would return and we could generally have a good time celebrating the end of pandemic. That’s likely not going to be the case.

Comments Dr. Jean Stachon, the county’s health officer, made last week during a regular update on the local reaction to the pandemic made one thing abundantly clear: we have a long way to go even with vaccines being distributed. Dr. Stachon has previously said herd immunity would be when 75-80% percent of the county population has had the disease or been immunized, which roughly translates to three out of four or four out of five county residents. As of 2019, the county’s population was 42,343, which means heard immunity at a minimum would be 31,757 people.

The number of recorded cases in the county, as of Monday, is 3,179 and despite the work to immunize priority groups, Dr. Stachon said people won’t be considered immunized until 10 days after their second shot, a booster that actives the body’s immune system after the initial COVID-19 shot.

Dr. Stachon is right, we have a long ways to go.

Until then, what should we do? There’s the option of planning for an event in the case that it can happen and canceling it if we still need to follow social distancing guidelines by the time those events are set to take place. Yes, there would be no shortage of disappointment if many of those events get postponed again. However, there is a chance things may change between now and summer. Perhaps more vaccine doses will be made available in the coming months? A lot could happen in the next few months that we, or anyone else, simply can’t foresee.

One thing we can foresee is the continued popularity outdoor recreation in the summer months. Explorations into the county’s vast public lands and trips to the Flaming Gorge were popular last year as other travel destinations and vacations became unavailable. Those are the experiences that should be promoted locally, as there is a lot to see in our backyard.


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