THUMBS DOWN: Local officials need to bite the bullet and clearly state when an event is canceled. This week, the Utah County Commission “postponed” the 2020 Utah County Fair until next year. Unless the county plans to hold two fairs next year — the “postponed" 2020 event and the regular 2021 one — the outside observer can plainly see that the 2020 fair is not postponed but is in fact canceled. Save the sleight of hand for the midway or the magic shows that I hope will happen at the 2021 fair.
THUMBS UP: To all those heroes out there we call Mother, Mom or Mommy. With all the good, bad and ugly going on in the world, these women work hard to care for all of us. This weekend is Mothers Day. Our greatest thanks go out to all women who keep our homes, businesses and communities running.
THUMBS DOWN: To our divisive culture, which has resulted in far too much negativity during this COVID-19 pandemic. Some want to blame politicians or the media but the reality is everyone who chooses anger over kindness is part of the problem. Will we ever mature enough to truly value everyone, even if they see things differently than we do?
THUMBS UP: To everyone sacrificing for the good of the community as a whole. Given all of the unknowns, it may never be clear what sacrifices were "necessary," but that doesn't diminish the efforts being made in the attempt to limit the health and economic risks during this pandemic.
THUMBS DOWN: To comments on stories, threads, links, etc., by people who haven't actually -- or carefully -- read what they are posting about. It's forehead-palm inducing how many times a comment instructs the original poster to "Do this!" or "Do that!" or "Did you know that ... ?" when, in fact, this, that and the other have been made clear in the original source material.
THUMBS DOWN: I am torn by the failure of Utah County Health Department officials to disclose the names of the two businesses whose reckless actions led to at least 68 positive cases of COVID-19. These businesses allegedly didn’t break any laws and weren’t shut down by the government, but their actions bordered on depraved — instructing employees not to follow quarantine guidelines and requiring infected staff to report to work. The Health Department does release health and safety reports that don’t involve legal action — for restaurants, as an example. In this case, county officials are staying mum because the businesses don’t directly serve the public. While the temptation to shame these businesses is great, the county served the public by letting us all know what happened so we can see the disastrous consequences of not following reasonable and responsible guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
THUMBS DOWN: To the small number of local businesses and, I can't believe I have to say this, large family birthday gatherings, in Utah County that have patently ignored COVID-19 safety guidelines and been directly responsible for spreading the virus. It's a shame that so many people are going above and beyond to conduct themselves in a safe manner only to see some parties totally thumb their noses at common sense approaches.
THUMBS UP: To making everything for everybody free. What a wonderful world it would be (sing it, Louis Armstrong fans) if nobody anywhere had to pay for things like healthcare, car repair, insurance, plumbing, concrete pours, elective surgery, groceries, dining out, gasoline, entertainment of all kinds, reading stories on a newspaper's website, travel, jewelry, orthodontics, subscriptions, prescriptions, clothing, licenses of all kinds, education, daycare, yada, yada, yada. We can jumpstart this process if everybody would just agree to forego their salaries and commit to doing all their work for free. Who's with me?
THUMBS DOWN: To the Utah County Health Department and other officials for refusing to name the two businesses in our area that told employees to ignore COVID-19 guidelines and instructed staff who tested positive for COVID-19 to report to work. Not only are officials refusing to release the identity of these businesses to the public, but they're also not shutting them down, nor doing anything (at least to public knowledge) to punish the businesses for their ridiculously dangerous actions. We as citizens of the county have a right to know of these businesses, so that those as angry as I am can avoid those businesses both for our own safety and to withhold our patronage and support. I certainly want nothing to do with businesses that treat their employees in such a way.
THUMBS UP: To everyone following health officials' strongly encouraged guidelines to wear masks whenever out in public. If you're not already doing it, start!
THUMBS DOWN: To the way Thanksgiving Point is handling the Tulip Festival. The website promises that festival employees are taking many measures to ensure guest safety, including only opening a limited amount of ticket reservations each day. So we thought, why not? Sounds like we can enjoy some gorgeous views while staying socially distant. But right when we got there, it was clear Thanksgiving Point is not "limiting" the amount of guests that they should. The foyer was crowded, and the paths all through the garden were very crowded. It was impossible to keep a safe distance from other attendees.
THUMBS DOWN: I’m sorry that the 2020 Utah County Fair has been canceled. While it’s just a fun time for most of us in the public, it’s a chance for students and community members to showcase their livestock, agricultural efforts and creative endeavors. While there are other avenues to showcase one’s work, particularly online, there’s something special about being able to walk about the fair and check out what our neighbors have been working on.
THUMBS UP: To the Provo Municipal Council for listening to residents and allowing for extra time and discussion on issues like the Hillside overlay zone and the Christensen Oil concerns. In return, we encourage residents to participate in giving the council feedback either through their neighborhood meetings and organizations or online at the Open City Hall links at the city website. We believe in best practices for both the council and residents. We only hope that those same best practices don't get overrun or convoluted. For instance, after months of in-depth discussion and vetting there is no light at the end of the tunnel for the Class F beer license and brew pub conundrum which continues on and on and on.
THUMBS DOWN: I feel sorry for the employees of the two businesses that were recklessly exposed to the coronavirus. At least 68 employees tested positive for COVID-19, but who knows how far the disease might’ve spread beyond the businesses’ confines into the community at large? Unfortunately, these employees may have tough legal hurdles to clear to seek redress through the courts. Gov. Gary Herbert signed a law granting business owners immunity from “civil liability for damages or an injury resulting from exposure of an individual to COVID-19” on their premises. Employees may have some recourse as businesses aren’t immune if they display “willful misconduct; reckless infliction of harm; or intentional infliction of harm.”
THUMBS DOWN: I’m about as over the coronavirus as the rest of us, but I don’t feel the state or the rest of the United States are taking enough steps to responsibly and gradually reopen businesses and public spaces. Nationally, we are still falling way short on the amount of testing and contact tracing needed to keep track of the spread of the contagion. The rate of new cases and deaths hasn’t dropped significantly in the United States, so we may be courting trouble and a surge of cases and deaths if we don’t act prudently.