My worst fears concerning opening Moab have been realized. I sensed that once we opened that the visitor vanguard would be mostly the reckless and (self)entitled who seem to be thinking that they will shelter in place HERE, thinking that OUR HOME is their backyard and that they can do whatever they damn well please, without masks or evidently manners, because without them and their money, Moab would be nothing. Whew!
It didn’t take long. Last week’s sub-headline – Unmasked: Visitors shun protective gear. (TI-May 14, 2020, Volume 127, Number 20) reveals the ugly truth. It seems that most Moab residents have more respect for ourselves, our community AND our visitors than many visitors have for themselves, their family or OUR community. Despite community efforts to be welcoming and cautionary, the behavior and attitude of many visitors (and some residents) still, to use common vernacular, SUCKS!
There’s a quick fix to that. Signs in many stores, especially supermarkets used to read “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.”
Let’s add NO MASK to that. Put NO MASK at the top of the list, in BOLD TYPE. AND ENFORCE IT! Not just law enforcement, but all of us, nicely, yet FIRM, with some compassion and even with humor! Call it the TOUGH LOVE for visitors and residents CAMPAIGN – TLC. Business signs should be large. Fill the door. Fill the window. Maybe Howard T’s highway sign idea could read NO MASK – NO SERVICE.
That’s where the $500,000 Travel Council advertising money can go. A Moab where everyone is working together to keep everyone who is here at any given time healthy and happy is a place we want to live, visit and welcome people to. I’d say most of the world knows where Moab is, they only need to be reminded (strongly) how to behave!
Moab, we’ve taken care of our visitors very well for a very long time. So long, in fact, that I think we’ve forgotten to take care of ourselves. I’m not just talking about replacing the aged water and sewer lines, but renewing the small-town sense of community that first attracted many of us to Moab (1978 for me), long before we lured the monster of industrial tourism here and let it bully us. I know we’re all anxious about our health AND finances. Perhaps the slow opening of our tourism economy can nurture a slightly quicker opening of our minds and hearts as to what the future of this community and its individual components will be. There is NO GOING BACK to what it was and what we were expecting for the future six months ago. That has changed forever. What CAN change, and I hear it happening, is that we envision a renewed Moab not by terms of tourism or the governor, but on our own terms!
— Bruce Hucko