CEDAR CITY —After being pushed out of Kaysville and Tooele County, Utah Business Revival’s free concert featuring Collin Raye is now scheduled for June 13 at the Iron Springs Adventure Resort in Iron County.
Organizer Eric Moutsos told Cedar City News the concert’s main purpose is business revival for small businesses that may be experiencing hard times, and Utah Business Revival has had success already at previous events.
“We helped save a bunch of businesses, mortgages,” Moutsos said. “A lot of these businesses aren’t getting the stimulus checks because they made too much money the year before. That was the whole reason I created Utah Business Revival, was to help those small businesses immediately.”
Moutsos said the concert originally had support from Kaysville, but he was later informed the City Council would no longer support the event out of concern for COVID-19.
“Once the City Council up there started to get negative phone calls, they turned on Katie Witt and were getting ready to release an internal press release that said they were going to do anything and everything to stop the concert,” Moutsos said.
He said he then began arranging for the concert to take place on private property in Tooele County but ran into similar problems. He said a judge issued an injunction on the event, but while attending a related court hearing, Moutsos said he received information that the county was holding a BMX event at its Deseret Peak complex.
Moutsos said the reason for the injunction was identified as COVID-19.
“(The) order basically said we cannot put lives at risk, and the county attorney is saying you’re going to kill people,” Moutsos said. “At the exact same moment as she was saying these words, Tooele County – on their property – was allowing for this BMX event where there were thousands of people gathered.”
The Tooele County Health Department issued two statements on Facebook regarding the concert. The first, posted May 21, stated that the event had not been approved by the department.
“COVID-19 transmission adds an additional worry because at an event like this it is nearly impossible to maintain social distancing,” the post stated.
An additional post on May 27 announced an “Official Notice of Closure Issued to Jason Manning,” the owner of the property where the concert was to be held.
“This event falls under the definition of a Temporary Mass Gathering as defined in R392-400. Temporary Mass Gatherings, as defined by R392-400, pose an imminent health hazard at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the post stated.
Moutsos said Manning contacted the health department and was told he could not receive a permit for the event because of COVID-19.
Following the injunction from Tooele County, Moutsos said he was bringing the concert to Iron County.
“And Collin Raye is still on board.”
Moutsos said there will be hand-washing stations, and masks have been donated for attendees to wear. Small businesses are invited to reserve a free booth for the concert, which will also be free of charge to attend, and community members will be able to shop throughout the evening.
“We’re moving forward, and we’re excited about it, and we’re hoping to save a whole bunch more businesses in the process,” he said. “In America we don’t quit, and I don’t quit, and the Utah Business Revival isn’t going to quit, because I’ve seen it change people’s lives.”
Iron County Commissioner Paul echoed the importance of helping small businesses, especially in light of large events like the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Utah Summer Games being canceled.
“Our business are dying,” Cozzens said. “We have to get some economic activity going in our county, and this is a great opportunity.”
Cozzens said that in addition to the hand-washing stations and masks, other precautions, such as an evaluation of the available space to determine how many patrons can safely attend, are being taken in order to promote social distancing and safety at the event.
“It will be a safe event,” he said. “It will be a wonderful event. It’ll be an opportunity for people to get out and support businesses. It’s going to be well planned, and we’re excited to support our small businesses.”
David Heaton, Southwest Utah Public Health Department public information officer, told Cedar City News the department was informed of the event, and organizers said they would respect social distancing.
“Anybody that is in the high-risk category, we would discourage them from going to that or any large social events,” Heaton said. “We are trusting that the folks planning the gathering will respect the social distancing like they told us.”
Updated June 5 at 12:30 p.m. to include comment from the Southwest Utah Public Health Department.
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