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Controversial concert planned in Kaysville park

Posted at 9:37 PM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-16 22:23:03-04

UPDATE (Saturday, May 16): Kaysville Police say the event will be discussed in the next city council meeting on Thursday, May 21.

Original story:

KAYSVILLE, Utah — Controversy grows over a live concert planned in open defiance of Utah’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Country musician Collin Raye is scheduled to perform at Barnes Park in Kaysville on Saturday, May 30.

“It’s just ludicrous,” said Kaysville resident Jason Sanders.

Sanders disapproves of a day-long event culminating in a free concert resisting Governor Herbert’s restrictions limiting groups of more than 50 people.

“We are a small sleepy town, we don’t need a Collin Raye concert to celebrate. We are afraid a lot of people are going to show up and who knows what’s going to happen,” Sanders said.

The outdoor event will feature booths for 85 nonessential businesses selling goods and services. Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt supports the controversial event after approving the application.

“I’m a bold leader. I did not seek these people out, they came to me. It feels to me that this is imperative that we need to start to give back these constitutional rights back to these people before it’s safe,” Mayor Witt said.

The event is organized by the same group behind the large protest at Salt Lake City Hall in April. They argue the health directives are unconstitutional and hurt small businesses.

“If government gets to decide when it’s safe to give you back your rights, you have no rights. Now is the time to be rushing to get back,” Mayor Witt said.

In a statement to FOX13, Collin Raye said:

“Hopefully, this concert will inspire similar events in other states around the country as we try to unify and start pushing back against the effects of this pandemic. We will be utilizing the recommended sensible safety precautions, and I’m confident it will be a huge success for small businesses, and hopefully, the country at large.”

State health directive violators can be charged with a misdemeanor.

“Enforcement of state health orders is carried out by local health departments. In this instance, the Davis County Health Department has the responsibility to ensure this event, and any similar public gatherings hosted in the county, are conducted in accordance with state orders," Governor Gary Herbert said Friday.

"I don’t know what to expect from this thing,” Davis County Health Department Executive Director Brian Hatch said. "I have not seen any information — the event organizer hasn’t asked any questions of me. I don’t know what to expect.”

Hatch isn’t certain on what his move will be, yet. Either way, he hopes the gathering doesn’t produce a spike in cases.

“I hope that we don’t just do it because we can and move us back to the place where we worked so hard to get out of,” Hatch said.

Mayor Witt, who is running for US Representative Rob Bishop’s congressional seat, said she does not believe the event will spread COVID-19. Neighbors, however, don’t want to take any chances.

“We as the citizens of Kaysville have the right to regulate how our city property is used,” Sanders said.