Wasatch County Officials Prepare For Gradual Reopening Of Local Economy

Wasatch County leadership is working on the next phase in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During an update to the Wasatch County Council, Health Department Director Randall Probst compared the county response to COVID-19 to a light bulb being dimmed down. Now he says they’re preparing to make gradual adjustments to brighten the metaphorical bulb.

“We started working with some of our businesses to start to identify what it’s going to look like as we start turning up that switch,” Probst explained. “It’s not going to be something that happens quickly. We’ve all come to the conclusion we’re going to live with this virus for some time. It’s not a matter of just putting an end to it, it’s a matter of learning how to live with it effectively and safely.”

Probst says the Health Department, along with council members and the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce has started meeting in groups with similar businesses in order to consult with each other.

“Start sharing insight and we can work together to see what kind of protective equipment is going to be needed long-term,” Probst continued. “What kind of cleaning and sanitation kinds of things will help them be ready to receive customers again. All of those processes are very important in order to ramp up safely, but still allow business to begin to function as we see this more in a stabilization phase.”

County Council member Mark Nelson says they’ve been working to get back to business as soon as they can.

“The local task force and certainly the County Council, which includes business owners, are very sensitive to the fact that we have to get business open,” Nelson said. “And we have to do it as fast as possible. Of course, our health is what’s driving all this, and our safety but we have to get businesses open as quickly as we can.”

Nelson says if any business owner in the county has not heard from the chamber of commerce they should reach out and contact their office.

Read the original story at KPCW.org

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/.