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St. George and neighboring communities ask to loosen COVID-19 restrictions even more

St. George splash pad
Posted at 4:00 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 19:52:13-04

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Several southern Utah communities intend to ask Governor Gary Herbert to allow them to loosen COVID-19 restrictions even more.

In an interview with FOX 13 on Friday, St. George Mayor Jon Pike said he and other neighboring community leaders plan to ask the governor and state to allow them to go to a "yellow" risk level, below the "orange" risk level the state is presently in. Mayor Pike pointed to smaller cases of COVID-19 in his city and escalating temperatures in southwestern Utah.

"This is what the Utah Leads plan contemplates is regional differences," he said. "So we’re hoping to be considered for that because of our data and our differences."

Mayor Pike's request highlights the regional differences COVID-19 has had on the state. In an interview with FOX 13 on Friday, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said she was not comfortable with loosening restrictions in the capital city, given the higher cases of COVID-19 there.

"I’m not comfortable with the transition. That’s based on Salt Lake City zip code-specific data. As we came to know it was going to happen earlier this week and met with the county health department and (Salt Lake County) Mayor Wilson, that health officials told us basically there was nothing we could do short of closing our borders to our city for a prolonged period of time, which is not going to happen," Mayor Mendenhall said.

The City of St. George has allowed its splash pads, city-owned pool and recreation center to re-open. The Southwest Utah Public Health Department issued new health orders on Friday loosening some of that region's restrictions.

From mid-March through Friday, the health department has recorded 98 cases of COVID-19. Washington County has 68 cases; Iron County has 24; Kane and Garfield counties have three each and Beaver County has zero.