SALT LAKE CITY — A group called Utah Tonight is vowing to host the largest party of the year this Halloween. The group’s public Instagram page appears to be new, as it’s first visible post is from late September about the party.
The event is described on the website as: “A massive, outdoor costume party (protest) being held on private property for the purpose of promoting mental health and to raise a voice against those who are using fear and misleading information to gain power and control in our lives. Life must go on. COVID-19 is real, but it shouldn't be the end of normalcy!”
The event’s page also promises to keep attendees’ identities private.
“If you purchase a ticket to this event, your personal information will remain confidential. We will not release photos of faces until it makes sense to do so,” the website states.
The event has been gaining popularity, through both the Utah Tonight Instagram page and through the event group The Tribe Utah, who claims to not be involved in the event, yet is promoting the event including posting about a photoshoot for the event.
Fox13 News reached out to both organizations through social media and email but did not hear back for comment.
The event comes as Utah deals with its highest Covid-19 case counts yet.
“We call upon all Utahns to be responsible and abide by state and county rules and guidelines for gatherings. An event such as this one is impermissible under the current rules. We expect local authorities to vigorously enforce flagrant violations of health orders,” Gov. Gary Herbert said about the Halloween protest.
The event’s page said it is time for people to start living their lives again.
“Back in March, when everything started to shut down, the only reason for canceling events was to keep hospitals from getting overwhelmed. Everyone knows that hospital capacity isn't a concern anymore,” the event’s page states.
Health and political leaders continuously speak about Utah’s hospitals swelling with this new outbreak and the need to get case counts under control.
The event’s location has not been disclosed, but it states online the location will be announced the day of the event, Halloween, and it will be within a 30-minute drive from Salt Lake City and Provo.
Both Utah and Salt Lake counties are under the high level of transmission category for Covid-19 under the state’s newly released guidelines. Under the new guidelines, any establishment that allows public gatherings such as live events or gatherings must adhere to specific protocols including people must wear masks, social distance, an event management form must be completed and more.
You can read all the guidelines here.
Both Utah and Salt Lake County health departments have confirmed to FOX13 News they’ve reached out to organizers of the event but hadn’t heard back as of Wednesday evening.
“We continue to strongly encourage individuals, schools, social gatherings, private events, and businesses to focus on behaviors and things we know that slow COVID-19 infections including physical distancing, good hygiene, staying home when sick, isolation and quarantine when appropriate, and wearing masks. These high leverage behaviors are successful at fighting the virus and its impacts on the community. Events that do not follow the recent Utah State Department of Health Public Health Order are considered to be in violation of that Order. When we all work together we can reverse the course of COVID-19 in Utah,” a spokesperson for the Utah County Health Department said.
In terms of enforcement, a spokesperson for the Salt Lake County Health Department said they do not have enough information on the event.
“Enforcement is dependent on specific circumstances, such as if an establishment has already had a violation or not. It’s also possible an event like this will not violate any public health order if the overseer effectively implements the state-required precautions; we don’t know enough yet to know.” - Nicholas Rupp, Salt Lake County Health Dept. spokesperson, said.
The event’s ticket page said guests are expected to bring masks and that the outdoor event will leave room for social distancing. The event promises live DJs for the 18 plus crowd. Tickets range from $10 to $35.
“By attending this event, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold any organizers, promoters, affiliates, and/or volunteers of "Protest on Halloween" liable for any illness or injury,” a disclaimer on the event’s page states.
For the latest information on Covid-19 in Utah, click here.