New Covid Restrictions Mandated for Wasatch County

Governor Herbert Adds Wasatch to List of "High Transmission" Counties

Utah’s government launched a new “Level of Transmission” index on Tuesday. It will provide a more scientific way for assessing each county’s Covid situation, along with new restrictions created to fight the current rise in cases. Color-coded guidelines are discontinued. 

Wasatch County is one of six Utah counties currently on “high transmission” risk. Levels will be reassessed weekly. They are determined by looking at case rates per 100K, percent of test positivity, and statewide ICU usage.  

The Governor did not enact a statewide mask requirement, as some have asked him to do. However, masks are required in the “high level” counties and in the “moderate” level until 10/29.   

The new guidelines emphasize care being taken during casual gatherings between family and friends. These small social gatherings are considered to be one of the main causes for the current high numbers in Utah.  

In Wasatch County, under the high designation, the following restrictions are now in place, according to coronavirus.utah.gov:  

  1. Casual social gatherings are now limited to 10 or fewer people. This doesn’t include “formal religious services” or events “overseen by a formal organization.”  
  1. Masks are required for “public indoor settings and outdoors when physical distancing is not feasible.” 
  1. Restaurants, including bars and buffets, must maintain six feet between parties at all times (including waiting and seating areas.) 
  1. Other establishments allowing public gathering, including live events, movie theaters, sporting events, weddings, recreation, and entertainment, must require masks (performers excluded) and six feet distancing between household groups. (Rare exceptions to distancing may be requested, but are highly discouraged.)  
  1. Business owners also have additional restrictions, which are available on the website. 

Wasatch County’s Covid numbers will be reviewed each week. The “High” transmission level may be lowered after 14 days, depending on if the county is meeting threshold numbers.  

“Over the last 4 weeks, we’ve seen our infection rates and case counts skyrocket to the highest they’ve ever been,” said Utah Governor Gary Herbert. “It’s really time for a new game plan.” 

Additional information is available at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-health-guidance-levels/.

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.