Commissioners in Southern Utah support Collin Raye concert on basis of ‘constitutional rights’

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CEDAR CITY (ABC4 News) — The twice-blocked concert with country music star Collin Raye promoted by Utah Business Revival is now headed to Cedar City after receiving support from both the Iron and Washington County commissions.

The free event, scheduled at the Iron Springs Resort at 5 p.m. June 13, would openly defy state COVID-19 restrictions that limit gatherings of up to 50 people.

“Right now, in an emergency situation, a business revival and concert is the most patriotic thing we could be doing, so we’re not going to stop at anything,” organizer Eric Moutsos said.

Moutsos tells ABC4 News he is anxious to help small business owners survive and exercise constitutional freedoms, calling the people of Southern Utah “patriots,” including Iron County Commissioner Paul Cozzens, who he said was vital in making the event happen.

“Cozzens has been trying to get the state open from the start,” Moutsos added. “It is so important that we exercise our rights and show the government that we are the ones that are supposed to be in charge. They’re supposed to be our representatives.”

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The organizer said the Iron County Commission welcomed him with “open arms” to Southern Utah, adding he does not feel he will face similar legal challenges that prevented the concert from taking place in Kaysville and Grantsville.

“We are thrilled to announce that Iron County is open for business, please come support small business and enjoy Collin Raye,” Cozzens stated in a press release.

ABC4 News’ Katie Karalis also met with chairman Victor Iverson of the Washington County commission, who said he and commissioners Gil Almquist and Dean Cox are not taking an official stance on the event but express their “full support.”

“No public health policy should violate our constitutional rights,” Iverson said. “We’re looking forward to really just a great event with people coming out and celebrating music and freedom.”

Local commissioners said they’re pleased with the organizers’ plans to ensure safety, who have arranged security, emergency medical care, portable toilets, hand-washing stations, and donated masks, according to officials.

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department (SWUPHD), however, is expressing concern about the event and hopes attendees will practice social distancing guidelines.

“We feel it’s important to let people know that a lot of our newer cases have been from larger gatherings or social gatherings where social distancing wasn’t observed,” SWUPHD spokesperson David Heaton said.

RELATED: Southwest Utah sees highest COVID-19 hospitalizations, 1-day spike

Heaton told ABC4 News that the 5-county-district is considered to be in a surge event, with the area’s highest total hospitalizations reported this week since the outbreak began. The total number of COVID-19 cases quintupled since May 1st.

Southwest Utah has 524 total confirmed cases as of Thursday, including:

  • 26 new cases
  • 320 (22 new) total recovered
  • 17 currently hospitalized (1 new, 2 released)
  • 4 deaths (3-26-20, 4-23-20, 5-3-20, 5-18-20)
  • 12,715 tests performed (as of last report received, may not be current)
  • Washington County: 410 (10 new)
  • Iron County: 107 (15 new)
  • Kane County: 3
  • Beaver County: 0
  • Garfield County: 4 (1 new)

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