Letter: Let’s remain a caring community


The coronavirus meteorite has hit our starship and in time the world will recover.

Grand County’s political and socioeconomic wellbeing is dependent on this recovery. The Atlas Mill closed in 1982, and the following four years, gendered-out of necessity the current industrial world-class tourist trade we have today. It’s what Grand County wanted, needed and developed — our Moab of 2020.

The year 1986 was desperate times for all of southeast Utah; the bottom fell out of energy: no uranium, oil or gas exploration or extraction. Arches and Canyonlands national parks first hosted over 400,000 visitors a year. The three small grocery outlets that serviced Moab and their clean, safely discarded out-of-date food (meat, dairy, produce) fed hundreds of good, out-of-work, looking to do anything community families.

Harvesting apples, apricots, and asparagus was living and helping our small, not-so-hungry community eat. We lived in a financially broken local economy; yet, everyone ate.

After Atlas closed, many families left and hundreds of Grand County homes sat empty; a two-bedroom, bath, and a half bungalow was struggling to fetch $12,500. This same bungalow will be close to $400,000 today.

Because of Grand County’s remote locale, our economic recovery will take years, as our current free enterprise system is careening toward failure. The current world health situation is a death-knell for the entire world tourist trade. Social distancing is the reality, but long-term residents, of all ages, will help people where help is needed — it’s what people of Grand County do. Indeed, let’s not lose this humanity.

There is no one to blame or at fault — it’s just the way it is. By Friday the 13th there was a run on City Market; it’s happened all across America and the world. The world order is in up-ended turmoil; events canceled, libraries, schools and businesses closed. Wait until one of our family or neighbors has contracted the coronavirus; our reality is going to get much more “pandemonious.”

Local politicians struggle in a thankless office. Thankfully, their hearts are into doing their best. World tourism has collapsed; our local economy is going to take a big hit, and jobs are going to be lost, families are going to suffer. Moab will directly suffer from this coronavirus meteor.

There is no escaping order of the historical truth and logic of this human pandemic. Let’s remain who we are — a caring community of extended families and friends.

— Gary Hazen