TOOELE, Utah (ABC4 News)- Leaders in Tooele County and a district court Judge have stepped in to stop a concert planned this weekend.
The concert, sponsored by Utah Business Revival, was originally scheduled in Kaysville at Barnes Park with the support of Mayor Katie Witt, but city council members and health officials stepped in and threatened to cut power to the park and pursue criminal charges to anyone who attends.
In response, Utah Business Revival announced the concert will instead be at the Studio Ranch Amphitheater in Grantsville.
On Wednesday, the Tooele County Health Officer, the Tooele County Board of Health, and the Tooele County Commission issued an official notice of closure to the owner of The Amphitheater at Studio Ranch.
“This event falls under the definition of a Temporary Mass Gathering,” the Public Health Order stated. “[The event] poses an imminent health hazard at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Under the current guidance of the state, gatherings mass gatherings of this size are not allowed.
If the owner doesn’t comply, he could face criminal charges. Health officials say their goal in issuing this order is to protect the health of the community.
UBR said the concert was started with the intent of reviving Utah’s small businesses. They planned on having free booths available for businesses during the concert.
There is no word from the group on their next plan.
A judge for the third district court on spoke up Friday about the planned [event]. Judge Diana Gibson sided with Tooele County officials against holding the large gathering for the concert.
She stated that even though she respects the rights of citizens to assemble and decide for themselves the risk they are willing to take in regards to COVID-19, she believes sometimes a balance must be struck between individual rights and the public good.
Gibson added during a digital hearing that the facts still remain that Utah has issued a state of emergency due to the pandemic. While all indications in Utah show that everything that is being done is positive and on track, she said the event creates “unnecessary health risk to the Tooele County citizens and all citizens of Utah.”
Concert promoters also appeared in a video call at the hearing.
One of the biggest conflicts in Friday’s hearing was a motocross event to be held this weekend at the county-owned Deseret Peak complex in Erda.
The concert promoters didn’t agree that that even was allowed and theirs wasn’t. They also argued that the county failed to prove they’d be irrevocably harmed if the concert happens.
Commissioner Shawn Milne with the Tooele county commission said “I am most happy the judge upheld the County Code, because there is a process for events with a thousand or more people, even under normal circumstances.”
Concert organizers say the event will go on in two weeks but they are having an impromptu peaceful protest to raise money for the vendors who were going to be at the event.
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