Washington City closes community center, cancels Cotton Days as virus precautions continue

The Washington City Community Center, Washington City, Utah, Aug. 10, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George, News

ST. GEORGE — Closures across the county continue as Washington City announces the indefinite closure of its community center and cancellation of its Cotton Days celebration. While other activities and gatherings have also been canceled and suspended, city services will continue, albeit in a limited fashion.

The Washington City Hall, Washington City, Utah, Aug. 10, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George, News

City officials announced on the Washington City Facebook page Tuesday that the Washington City Community Center is being shut down until further notice due to COVID-19 concerns. Cotton Days, which was set for April, has also been canceled.

Activities scheduled for parks and sports fields, such as the city’s youth sports leagues, have also been canceled, Washington City Mayor Ken Nielson told St. George News Wednesday morning.

Washington City Hall will also be closed to the public. All utility payments should be made electronically using Xpress Bill Pay or by phone. Payments can also be made through an external dropbox.

“It’s business as usual, only with limit contact,” Nielson said.

Public works and construction projects currently underway will continue, the mayor said, as will building in general as the city does its best to accommodate builders during this time.

Apartments being built in Washington City, Feb. 18. 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“We don’t want to hold up the builders,” he said.

To this end, the city’s public works and building departments have set up procedures concerning interactions between others and city staff. This includes new “drop off and pick up” procedures at City Hall and Public Works offices

Contractors are asked to call ahead to notify city staff when they are dropping off or picking up documents related to their project. If you have questions, contact the Public Works Department at 435-656-6317.

All inspections will continue, though it is asked that inspectors be provided adequate social distancing by not being on the same floor of the building being inspected. For questions, contact the city’s Building Department at 435-656-6326.

“Please do not conduct business inside of the Washington City office building until further notice,” city officials posted over Facebook Tuesday.

Washington City’s “Cotton Days” festival, Washington City, Utah, April 28, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Washington City Planning Commission and City Council meetings have also been canceled for the remainder of the month. Nielson said the city is in the process of figuring out how the council may be able to hold meetings electronically.

The situation surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak is ever-evolving, Nielson said.

“We are getting updates almost daily from the governor and the president,” he said.

It is because of new restrictions and practices strongly recommended in the face of the coronavirus pandemic by state and federal agencies that the city has taken the action it has.

These recommendations and orders have also led to the closure of public schools across the state until the end of the month, as well as the suspension of dine-in operations for restaurants and bars starting at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

Various shops in the area have also adjusted their hours of operation to accommodate social distancing efforts, while at least eight shops at the Red Cliffs Mall have closed down for the next two weeks.

Washington City Mayor Ken Nielson addresses city residents in a video regarding the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington City, Utah, March 18, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Washington City, St. George News

Nielson highlighted the city’s most recent actions taken to prevent the spread of the virus on a video posted over social media Wednesday. In the video, he also encourages residents not to panic and to enjoy the time they have to reconnect with their families and also check on their neighbors.

“As we move forward, we will continue to update you … but make sure we as citizens don’t panic,” he said. “Enjoy our surroundings. We have beautiful scenery and we can go along our bike paths … We can take the time. That’s perhaps one of the great blessings of this pandemic would be, that we get to know our families better … We look at our neighbors and we look at our communities and we help those we can help, that our hearts become more toward service and toward helping others.”

Up-to-date information on Washington City’s response to COVID-19 can be found on the city’s Facebook page and website.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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