PARK CITY, Utah — Businesses across the country are feeling the effects of COVID-19, and it appears each specific city is trying to find a way to come back to help revitalize local shops.
With the cancellation of summer Park Silly Markets and the Tour of Utah bicycle race, Park City may see a change to how local businesses on Main Street are visited by consumers.
“It’s going to be a really different way to experience Park City in the summer and we’ll see how it works,” said Jessica McCleary, who owns Mountain Town Olive Oil Company on Main Street and serves of the board of the Historic Park City Alliance. “It’s been interesting to see people come in with masks, without masks. I think a lot of people here in Park City were hit really hard with this experience so we’re trying to do everything we can to make sure that we can stay open.”
The alliance voted on a proposal which would shut off vehicle traffic on Main Street on Sundays from mid-June to early September. It aims to promote foot traffic and social distancing of shoppers and consumers.
“I think it’ll be great because they canceled the Sunday Silly Market that normally brings a ton of traffic in here, but it’ll be good exposure for Main Street. People like to be outside especially with the weather like this,” said Russell Gray, a manager at Bangkok Thai.
Gray says they’ve been doing well with take-out orders, and even with COVID-19, they’re used to a slowdown depending on the time of year.
“This time of season always gets slow around here. Tourists come in the winter and the summer, and so we’re used to that stuff. We stay open 364 days a year," he said.
Park City’s City Council is expected to look at the proposal this week. There are some key factors at play including alcohol regulations, parking and transportation plans.
“I think it’s a great idea because we’ve never had the opportunity to close down the street before with so much traffic and Silly Markets on Sundays. This is a great opportunity for us to try something new,” McCleary said.
McCleary recognized that the alliance voters are fully aware of a stoppage to the proposal if it doesn’t appear to work to its design. She also recognizes that not all business owners are interested in the idea, citing various concerns.
“There were people who are concerned about people seeing that the street was blocked off, where are they going to park, thinking that it’s blocked off and they can’t access the street, wondering if it’s an everyday thing and not wanting to come back," she said.