State gathering guidelines nix Pioneer Day activities in Logan

The City of Logan's traditional parade and celebration of Pioneer Day on July 24th has been cancelled due to the threat of the coronavirus.

LOGAN – The 24th of July will be just another summer day in the City of Logan.

City officials have announced the cancellation of Logan’s annual Pioneer Day Parade and Celebration, which is traditionally held in Willow Park on July 24, due to the continuing threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The cancellation comes as a result of disruption to the planning for the Pioneer Day Celebration, the financial impact to event sponsors and current (statewide) recommendations regarding social distancing at mass gatherings and public events,” according to Debbie Harvey, a spokesperson for the Logan Parks and Recreation Department.

Logan City, along with the rest of Cache County, is currently under a state-mandated Yellow/Low risk level for the threat of coronavirus infection. Local officials anticipate that risk level will be reduced to Green/New Normal by late July, but state guidelines for public gatherings under that status have not yet been announced

“Given the uncertainties that impact this event,” she added, “we cannot move forward with planning, contracts, staffing and budgetary commitments.”

Critics of what they consider the “glacial pace” of Utah’s recovery from the ongoing pandemic argue that the state’s current guidelines on social distancing and public gatherings are not intended to make such events safe but rather to preclude them from happening at all. The most vocal of those critics is Eric Moutsos of Utah Business Revival.

The state guidelines generally limit public gatherings to no more than 50 people, with an exception permitted if “organizational oversight can be provided that ensures (that other) guidelines are followed.”

Those other guidelines include stipulations that event organizers must track attendance; provide separate entrances and queues for high risk groups (or “an established window of time for high-risk groups to come in without pressure from crowds”); and, ensure that promotional items, candy and food are distributed “in a manner that does not promote congregating.”

The guidelines also include the seemingly contradictory stipulation for a public event that “congregating at any point is not allowed.”

Given that Willow Park is not completely encircled by fencing, just tracking attendance at the Pioneer Day Celebration would have been problematic for Logan City officials.

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